Workers’ compensation benefits help employees get back on their feet following workplace injuries. However, when workers’ compensation claims are denied, injured workers are often left with no income and mounting medical expenses. Fortunately, it’s possible to appeal to workers’ compensation denials. Below is an overview of how to go about appealing a workers’ compensation decision in Arizona.
Following the denial of a workers’ compensation claim, an injured employee has 90 days to file a hearing request with the Industrial Commission of Arizona’s (ICA) Claims Division. Following this request, the ICA provides the filer with a notice detailing the date and time of the hearing.
The administrative law judge assigned to a workers’ compensation appeal case sometimes orders the parties to participate in a prehearing conference. This conference is typically conducted by phone, and it gives the judge an opportunity to discuss the case with the parties.
Both parties to a workers’ compensation appeal are required to participate in the discovery process prior to the final hearing. Discovery, which is the exchange of case-related materials, allows each side to request and examine crucial evidence affecting the appeal.
The final hearing in a workers’ compensation appeal is held 90 days after referral to the administrative law judge in the case. Hearings typically begin with an overview of the dispute by the administrative law judge. The employee who filed the appeal is typically first to testify, as he or she has the burden of proof in the case. Over the course of the hearing, the administrative law judge asks questions of the participants, and cross-examination may be conducted by the parties’ attorneys. The administrative law judge renders a decision within 30 to 60 days following the conclusion of the hearing, and copies of the decision are provided to all parties.
If the employee who initiated a workers’ compensation appeal is unsatisfied with the decision of the administrative law judge, he or she may file a request to review within 30 days of the final decision. Following receipt of a request to review, the administrative law judge will re-examine the evidence in the case and issue a decision upon review. The administrative law judge’s decision will either change or confirm the original decision. And if the injured employee still is unhappy with the decision rendered, he or she may file an appeal with the Arizona Court of Appeals within 30 days of the review decision.
Workplace injuries can be devastating, both physically and financially. However, they are even more catastrophic when you run into problems regarding your workers’ compensation benefits. Therefore, if you or a loved one is suffering from a workplace injury, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced Arizona workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible, as you may be entitled to compensation. For a free consultation, please contact Arizona Injury Law Group, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, at 602-346-9009.
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