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Every hearing will be different and every judge will have their own preferred ways to run the show, but most hearings will follow the same general 5 step process.
Introduction- This part is pretty straightforward. The judge will introduce himself or herself and explain how they will operate the hearing. Any other people in attendance such as hearing assistants or medical experts will also be introduced. It might be reassuring to know that this isn’t a public hearing with other people in the room waiting for their turn. Just you, the judge, hopefully, your attorney, and maybe a few others.
Opening Statements- Now the claimant or attorney will make an opening statement explaining why the claimant is disabled. If the claimant doesn’t have an attorney the judge will explain the right to legal representation. If the claimant waives the right to representation, the hearing will proceed. However, if the claimant wants to have the representation they can ask the judge to postpone the hearing.
Evidence- All evidence will be collected and reviewed by the judge.
Testimony- This step will take up the majority of the hearing. Witnesses and the claimant will give their testimony. After original testimony, questioning might take place if the claimant or their attorney wishes.
Closing Statement- Once all testimony, evidence, and questions have been completed the claimant or the attorney will have the opportunity to give a closing statement summarizing why they are disabled.
Again, every hearing will be slightly different than the others, but these 5 steps will most likely happen in some form. Knowing these steps will help you prepare for your hearing and avoid surprises. At Jan Dils Attorneys at Law we’ve been through countless ALJ hearings with our clients so we can go to your hearing with confidence. If you’re going through an ALJ hearing, we would love to help and give you a free consultation.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law