As you pursue workers’ compensation benefits when they were initially denied, several different courts may hear your case. The Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals is likely the highest court your case will reach.
How could your case get to this court? There are several different steps along the way after you first report your injury. First, the insurance company has to send you a notice either saying that your benefits were denied, or saying that your claim has been received and you will get benefits. If your benefits were denied, you most likely need to find a lawyer and file a Claim Petition. Alternatively, if you start receiving benefits but the insurance company decides to end them, it will send you a Notice of Discontinuance. You may need to attend a conference, or you may directly file an Objection to Discontinuance.
In both of these scenarios, you will eventually have your case heard by a workers’ compensation judge (unless your case settles). The judge will decide any disputes about benefits ending or eligibility for benefits. At some point, the judge may schedule a case hearing. The hearing is like a trial, during which your lawyer will question witnesses and present evidence. After the hearing, the judge will make a ruling about all of the disputes in your case. If you and your lawyer disagree about the outcome, you can appeal it. This requires filing some documents saying that you want to appeal.
Once you appeal a ruling made by a workers’ compensation judge, your case goes to the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals. This court looks over all the evidence and testimony, reads the judge’s ruling, and researches the law. Based on this review, the judges decide whether to overturn the workers’ compensation judge’s ruling or uphold it.
The Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals is a second level of review for legal disputes in your case. Often the court hears cases involving unusual facts or circumstances, or legal issues of first impression (never decided by a court). Rarely, Minnesota cases could get appealed to an even higher court such as the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Other states with workers’ compensation systems similar to Minnesota’s also have similar courts of appeals. These courts are usually separate from the civil and criminal courts, which also have courts of appeals.
Have you been denied workers’ compensation benefits and need to file a Claim Petition? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.