It isn’t bad enough that you were injured at work. On top of the stress of being injured, you find out your claim has been denied. Although it may seem like the end of the road, many people have their initial workers’ compensation claims denied.
The paperwork for workers’ compensation benefits is complex, and there are several reasons that your claim may be denied: missed deadlines, questions regarding the injury being work-related or your condition does not fall within state guidelines for compensation.
In any event, don’t give up your right to compensation. You are entitled to appeal the original decision, but there is a deadline for the process. In Ohio, you must file an appeal with the Industrial Commission of Ohio (IC) within 14 days of receipt of the denial of your claim by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC.)
Unless the denial was due to a simple error, it is best to seek a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can make sure all the necessary paperwork is processed accurately and quickly.
The process in appealing a denied workers’ compensation claim in Ohio will look like this.
Administrative Appeal Process
- The first level for an appeal to a workers’ compensation claim denial occurs in front of the district hearing officer. Although you may represent yourself, it is more prudent to have an attorney with you. Your employer will likely have legal representation. Before the hearing, an attorney can gather medical evidence and ensure that all documentation is accurate to support your claim better.
RELATED ARTICLE: 7 Common Challenges in Obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits
- If your appeal is not successful here, you can request a hearing in front of a staff hearing officer. This is also a primarily administrative hearing process, but an attorney can help gather needed evidence and supporting documentation.
- The last level of appeal is to the Industrial Commission. At this point, the commissioners have the option of refusing to hear your challenge.
Appealing to the Court
If you have exhausted all avenues within the administrative hearing process with the Industrial Commission to no avail, your next step will be to appeal to the courts. At this juncture, your case will go before the court in the county where you sustained the injury. This process will be much more formal, and an attorney will be necessary to ensure that all procedural rules are met and that the evidence is in compliance. Your success at this stage is dependent on having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.
The workers’ compensation lawyers at Gallon, Takacs, and Boissoneault are here to ensure your rights to all eligible compensation. Our experienced Michigan and Ohio workers’ compensation attorneys can help you file an appeal to your workers’ comp claim denial.
Call us at 419-843-6663 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Let our attorneys accurately and expediently navigate the legal process and paperwork so that you can focus on your recovery.
Bob Fielder is an Associate Attorney in the Workers’ Compensation section. Bob began his career at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault 1994 as a law clerk in Workers’ Compensation, then worked for GT&B as an Associate Attorney until 1998. With 22 years experience representing clients with Workers’ Compensation claims, Bob has navigated the intricacies of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Comp for hundreds of injured workers.