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Tips for Successful Court Hearings by Video during COIVD19 – This blog addresses some of the things that are happening in workers’ compensation, particularly workers’ compensation hearings, which are no longer being held in person during the pandemic. All workers’ compensation hearings are being held by telephone conference or internet video conference.

The Current Process of Workers’ Compensation Hearings

This blog will help you best prepare for your hearing and how you should present for your video testimony.

If you have a hearing in workers’ compensation and it is going to be held, there is not going to be a courtroom that you are going to physically go to.  Instead, you are going to be doing the hearing via video.  Currently, the State of Colorado is holding hearings in workers’ compensation using Google Hangouts.  If you already have a “Gmail” email, you are already registered with Google.  Otherwise, you will have to set up an account so that you may participate in the hearing.

Tips for Successful Court Hearings by Video during COIVD19 –

Six Tips to Make Your Testimony the Best Possible/Put Your Best Foot Forward

  1. Video Conference Do’s and Don’ts: A) Don’t do the hearing in your car. B) Don’t do the hearing in a room full of other people or a lot of people wandering around.  C) Don’t be in a room with a lot of distractions.  D) If you have a light source such as a window, please make sure the light source is not behind you making you look like you’re in the Witness Protection Program. The best option is to make sure the light source is in front of you and the darker light is behind you. That way you will be lit up and people can see you.  E) If you can avoid having animals wander through, cats, dogs, etc., please do that.  F) Do be familiar with how and when to mute and unmute yourself.
  2. Dress Up as if You Were Going to Court. This is somewhat important, and you would think it is self-explanatory, but dress up for your video hearing.  It is not advised to be in your short-sleeved shirt or a bubba shirt.  Dress nicely, i.e., a shirt with a tie or just a collared shirt is recommended.  You should dress appropriately as if you were going to court. Just remember to dress nicely from the waist up.  The video conference should be treated as a court hearing, whether Google Hangouts or not.
  3. Keep Yourself and Your Camera Still and Steady. One of the things I see clients do in all sorts of video appointments is that they are moving and wandering around.  It is a major distraction for the camera to move and jerk.  Here is what I recommend:  Put your phone on something, preferably away from you.  If you do that, the phone will stay still and you will not have to be touching it and the phone will not be moving around.  At worst, we do not want to feel like we are watching the Blair Witch Project.  Using a tripod or other means to keep your camera still will ensure that we can see you and that your phone is stable.  This is very important.
  1. Use a Device Other Than Your Phone/Have Sufficient Internet. If you have your own computer, if you have an iPad, if you have an iPhone Touch, if you have any device that you can join the hearing on that isn’t your phone, I recommend that.  Why?  Because in the middle of your testimony, mom/dad, child, aunt/uncle or a friend is going to call you and interrupt things.  When that happens, you are going to be like, “one moment” and you’re going to be swiping and everything.  At that point, things are going to go a little chaotic.  For those reasons, it is a good idea if you can do the video conference hearing on a device that is not your phone, because I guarantee that someone will call you. Another recommendation is to be sure you have stable and sufficient internet access, including sufficient internet speed.  This is imperative because the minimum bandwidth for Google Hangouts is 300 kbps.  It is preferred that you check your internet speed the same day as the hearing on a weekday using speedtest.net.  That website will provide a measurement of internet speed.  You can send a screenshot of the result to your attorney.
  2. Use a Headset. If you can, use a headset.  Even if you are in a quiet room, you will be able to hear better.  Hopefully, we will be able to hear you better because you will be speaking directly into a microphone.  By using a headset, your testimony will be that much clearer.
  3. Wait for the Pause/Remember You Are Always on Camera.  This is going to be harder, but wait until the questions are done, wait for there to be a pause, and then answer.  Often, when we are in a video hearing, there may be a lag or a delay and all of a sudden we will start talking over each other.  Again, when you are testifying in court, you want to put as few barriers in between your story and the judge as possible.  You want to be clear; you want to be concise and, more importantly, you want to be persuasive since this hearing is your opportunity to show that you are the most believable witness.

One of the limitations of Google Hangout is that when four people are participating, you may not see everyone at the same time.  You may think no one is seeing you, but you are always visible even if you cannot see yourself.  This means avoiding appearing to fall asleep, exaggerated eye-rolling, hand signals, or eating a meal.  Maintaining your fabulous poker face in Court is still in vogue!

Tips for Successful Court Hearings by Video during COIVD19 – Kaplan Morrell Helps Injured and Disabled Workers Throughout Colorado

As always, if you or anyone that you love is injured in Colorado, let them know about Kaplan Morrell.  We are a law firm that has been helping injured and disabled workers since 1997.  All our attorneys primarily practice workers’ compensation and that’s almost all that we do.  This makes us very boring at parties, but very good at helping you.

The Attorneys at Kaplan Morrell Fight Hard for Our Clients

Hopefully, you will never be injured, and you will never need us but, in case you are, we would be happy and thrilled to help you.  Please give us a call at (970) 356-9898.  You may also visit us on our website at www.kaplanmorrell.com  As always, the initial consultation is completely free.