I was hurt at work, but my workers’ compensation claim was denied. What should I do?
After your workplace accident, you probably thought that you were living your worst nightmare. Hurt and temporarily out of work while the bills piled up, you thought it could never get worse. When your compensation claim was denied, however, you realized very quickly that those feelings of dread could grow, and quickly.
It is not uncommon for those who have suffered an on-the-job injury to have their workers’ compensation claim initially denied. For some, it is an issue of how they were hurt that caused their claim to be given the ax, and for others it is simply a matter of incorrect information on their claim. In your case, we will assume that you were hurt in the scope of your employment, and that you followed the deadlines closely to ensure your own success.
As an injured worker in those circumstances, you are entitled to several rights, one of which is to appeal mistakes in your benefits or an outright denial. While it is legal to represent yourself when making this appeal, it is highly encouraged that you seek the counsel of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can help you meet all court requirements.
The first step in your appeal is to request a hearing with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC). Once you are assigned a hearing date or judge, you may have to go through mediation. This allows you the opportunity to resolve your dispute against your employer or his insurance company in front of a neutral mediator. Hopefully, your attorney can help you reach a settlement at this level of appeal, which can help you obtain your benefits more quickly.
If you are unable to reach a settlement at this phase, you will proceed to your hearing. This stage is much more formal and trial-like. You will need to prove that you are entitled to your workers’ compensation benefits through witness testimony and hard evidence. Should you disagree with the judge’s decision, you have 20 days to appeal once again—this time, to the Appellate Division of the SBWC.
If your benefits have been denied, we strongly suggest you seek legal counsel immediately. When your health and finances are at stake, time is valuable, and a lawyer can help you get through the appeals process as efficiently as possible.
Have You Been Injured At Work?
If you’ve been injured on the job you need to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Augusta office directly at 706.863.6600 to schedule your free consultation.