Suffering an injury at work can be devastating in many ways. Not only is your health at risk, but you may also worry about how you will support yourself and your family if you are unable to return to work. In Missouri, workers’ compensation provides a no-fault system to resolve these problems, but if your workers’ compensation claim is denied, it opens up an entirely new set of challenges and frustrations for you and your family.
If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to know that you have the legal right to file an appeal. Contact a skilled lawyer to find out more about filing a workers’ compensation appeal in Columbia.
Once you’ve had your initial hearing in front of an administrative law judge and a ruling has been made, you have the right to file an appeal with the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission. This application for review must be filed within 20 days of the date of the decision. The first step is to file an “Application for Review” with the Commission. The panel then reviews the previous case that was decided by the administrative law judge, and if the Commission agrees with the judge’s decision, they will affirm it. However, if the Commission disagrees with the decision, they may order a new hearing or make a decision themselves.
After the Commission has made a decision, you still have the right to file a second appeal. This is done by filing a Notice of Appeal with the Missouri Court of Appeals. At this juncture, there is no new trial – the Court of Appeals will only review the written record of the proceedings that took place with the administrative law judge. They will not accept new evidence. By law, the Court of Appeals must accept the Commission’s findings of fact unless they are not supported by substantial evidence and can only change the award based on a legal error.
In some very rare instances, the case may be appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court. This is only done in cases where the decision involves significant legal questions.
Often, an employer’s insurance company will try to settle a workers’ compensation claim rather than go through the appeals process. This is a common strategy because it is less costly and faster for them to do so. However, it is important to keep in mind that once you settle, you are waiving your right to appeal the settlement, even if your condition worsens. Therefore, it is crucial that you have a workers’ compensation attorney assess your case before agreeing to any settlement. The only way you may appeal this type of agreement is if it was fraudulent or if there was a clerical error involved.
When you are trying to navigate the workers’ compensation system, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and alone. Especially if your claim is denied, you may not know where to turn or what to do next. The appeals process for workers’ compensation claims is extremely complex, and it is in your best interest to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side. An attorney can help you at every stage of the workers’ compensation process, from filing your initial claim to appealing a denial.
They will know what evidence is necessary to support your claim and how to present it in the most favorable light. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Columbia will walk you through the entire process, help determine the likelihood of a successful appeal, and represent you throughout all the proceedings.
At the Law Offices of Chris Miller, we understand how difficult it can be to deal with a work-related injury, and we are dedicated to fighting for the benefits you need and deserve. If you have questions about filing a workers’ compensation appeal in Columbia, contact us today for a free consultation. We will review your case and help you understand your legal options.