If you disagree with a workers’ comp insurer’s assessment of your injury or eligibility for workers’ compensation, you may dispute the insurer’s decisions. You first might discuss the issues with the insurer and/or employer, but if that doesn’t work, you will have to schedule a hearing in front of a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge.
At the hearing, the insurer likely will have an attorney representing it, and you may bring a lawyer to represent you.
To prepare for the hearing, you and your attorney may collect evidence including medical records, impairment assessments and accounts of the injury. At the hearing, the Judge will review the evidence.
Your lawyer may submit a brief explaining your argument to the Judge. There are often oral arguments from each side, which the Judge will consider when making his or her decision. Your doctor may have to provide testimony regarding your condition, and you may have to testify as well in some cases.
What Does The Judge Decide At A Workers’ Compensation Hearing?
These hearings can settle disputes about impairment ratings, average weekly wages, whether a claim is compensable, disability status, whether an injury constitutes an occupational disease and other questions that arise from the workers’ compensation claim. The Judge will provide a decision regarding the issue at hand, such as the amount of workers’ compensation you will receive, as well as for how long you will receive the benefits.
If the Judge does not issue a decision with which you agree, you may have options to appeal it.
How Do I Appeal The Judge’s Decision?
If you disagree with the Judge’s decision, you may decide to appeal it to the Workers’ Compensation Board for review. A panel of three Board Members reviews the case and makes a decision. If the decision isn’t unanimous, you or insurer may request a review in front of the full decision Board.
If you still disagree, you may appeal the decision through the New York court system. First, the appeal goes to the Court of Appeals, Third Division, then the Court of Appeals itself and possibly the New York Supreme Court if there are still valid appeals to the decisions.
What Should I Do To Prepare For My Hearing?
You will work closely with your attorney to prepare for the hearing. As noted above, you’ll have to collect valid documentation that establishes your position that you are injured, your injury is work-related and/or you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Make sure you follow your doctor’s care instructions and follow all prescriptions to ensure you’re in compliance with your treatment requirements.
If you have any questions about your workers’ compensation claim please contact Markhoff & Mittman today. We are committed to representing workers’ and their rights in workers’ compensation cases throughout New York. Call (866) 205-2415 for a free consultation today.