If I go to a hearing with the Workers Compensation Commission, can they award me a big sum of money, like if I went to a jury trial?
Answer: No, except insofar as any money you may be due in the past for any period for wherein it is determined that your employer should have paid you temporary total disability. Other than that, with respect to your claim, the Commission can really only determine whether or not you are entitled to ongoing benefits of your compensation checks and medical care related to the accident— or not.
Therefore, if you have an accepted claim and you are under an Open Award Order, there is usually little to be gained by going to a hearing. The only way to potentially obtain a large lump sum of money in such circumstance is through a settlement agreement with your employer and workers compensation carrier. This is often what we work towards when representing workers compensation clients.
Also note that even if you win at the hearing and it is determined that you are entitled to compensation for back pay, there will be no decision that day and you will not receive any money that day. The decision in any workers compensation hearing can often take one or more months.
Even after a favorable decision, the defense still has the right to appeal to the Full Commission and then after that to the Court of Appeals.
But it should be noted that the matter could settle by agreement of the Parties at any time.