To do his job, a hearing representative requires traits or mind in combination with training and technique that will or him a most valued member of the claims team. The full exercise of his responsibilities demands certain qualities.
The first injunction is that he possesses good health. He needs a robust physical make-up so that he can have zest for his work; the capacity for long and sustained concentration; the ability to remember details; and the cheerfulness necessary to meet the challenges that constantly arise in trying a case. Recurrent absences by a hearing man due to illness can seriously impair the efficiency of a Hearing Department. Calendars are assigned in advance.
A replacement obtained at the last moment cannot be expected to handle a calendar with the proficiency of a man who has had time to familiarize himself with the cases and prepare them properly. Next, a hearing representative must have the ability to assume responsibility for the decisions he himself must make while in the hearing room. He must also have the training to quickly analyze a legal problem if it arises and the will to adjust strategy to changing situations. He must not only think well, he must do well.
Another quality he must have is knowledge of the field of workmen’s compensation. While this seems axiomatic, it is not enough just to know past decisions and court trends, he must be able to immerse himself in the accumulated facts in a folder, place them in the proper legal focus, separate the secondary from the primary and see the issues that will provide the best defense.
A hearing man must prepare himself on the medical aspects of a controversy just as he must the legal side. An important quality is to be proficient in the science of medicine and equally familiar with the areas of medical jurisprudence and medico-legal problems. Medico-legal problems may be construed as those embracing any legal affair involving medical facts. It is an all-inclusive field. Many physicians become medico-legal experts, trained especially in the law.
This does not mean that the hearing man should ever delude himself into believing that he knows as much as the doctor. He can, however, understand the medical facts. The differences between doctors provide the fuel for cross-examination. It is important for a hearing representative to be thoroughly versed in the art of preparing for a calendar and trial. It is not enough to know the facts in a case. He must understand the facts in their relation to each other and to the problems in workmen’s compensation that they present.