February 18, 2020
WCB VHC App Expands the Board’s Commitment to Digital Government; Makes it Easy For More Injured Workers and Other Participants to Attend Hearings Remotely
New York State Workers’ Compensation Board Chair Clarissa M. Rodriguez today announced the availability of a new Android app for virtual hearings, making it even easier for injured workers, attorneys and other participants to attend workers’ compensation hearings remotely. The Board’s virtual hearings are a first-in-the-nation initiative that provide injured workers a way to move through the claim process without the need to travel many miles for a hearing, which can be especially beneficial during harsh New York winters. A similar app for iOS devices launched last year and continues to serve hearing participants.
“Bringing our virtual hearings app to the Android platform is a great example of the Board’s ongoing commitment to improving the workers’ compensation system and better meeting the needs of our stakeholders,” said Board Chair Clarissa Rodriguez. “Ultimately, we want all injured workers and other participants to have the option of attending their hearing in the manner that works best for them.”
The WCB VHC app can enhance the user experience for those attending virtual hearings remotely. It is free in the Google Play Store and does not require users to install any additional software on their mobile device. The intuitive interface guides the user from sign-on to the virtual waiting room, to the video hearing once a judge calls the case, and finally out of the hearing.
The app may be especially helpful for attorneys and licensed representatives who regularly attend hearings, because it allows them to log in quickly by saving sign-on profile information. Users can also remove a hearing from their schedule if information was entered incorrectly or if they are no longer appearing for a case.
Hearing participants can still use their mobile device’s other apps and features while waiting for a hearing to be called. A notification alerts them when it’s time to join a hearing, even if their screen is off.
The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board developed virtual hearings in partnership with the Office of Information Technology Services to give all parties involved the option of using a smart phone, tablet or computer to attend hearings. This is the first high definition, all-access system for legal hearings in the nation. Multiple users in different locations log in once and then move from one hearing to another, anywhere in the state. Appearing remotely is optional –parties can always choose to attend hearings in-person.
Virtual hearings rolled out across the state in 2018. Since the initial pilot, more than 203,000 hearings have included at least one party who appeared remotely, successfully connecting injured workers, law judges and representatives from all over New York and the nation. More information on virtual hearings, including instructional videos and other training materials, is available at http://www.wcb.ny.gov/virtual-hearings/. To access the app in the Google Play Store, visit bit.ly/VHApp.