Why Is My Workers’ Comp Case on Appeal, and What Happens Next?
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Why Is My Workers’ Comp Case on Appeal, and What Happens Next?

When you learn that your workers’ compensation case is on appeal, you may have questions about what that means and what happens next in your case. To understand when you may begin receiving benefits, you will need to learn about the workers’ compensation legal process.

Sometimes, people refer to filing a Claim Petition as “appealing” your denial of benefits. This blog first discusses what happens after you file a Claim Petition, then what happens if you need to appeal the decision made at the hearing.

Office of Administrative Hearings

After you file a Claim Petition because your benefits were denied, you will exchange documents and information with the insurance company. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry will, most of the time, send your case to the Office of Administrative Hearings in preparation for a hearing. If your case involves a dispute over a single medical bill or other straightforward issue, it may issue a decision right away. But if your case is more complex (as most are), then you will receive a hearing date.

As you prepare for the hearing, your lawyer will raise various legal issues for the judge to consider. After considering all the evidence at the hearing, the judge will make a decision on all the legal issues. Discuss this decision with your attorney. He or she may recommend that you appeal the decision, if there is a basis to argue that the judge’s decision was incorrect. Appeal means that you ask a higher court to hear your case.

Appealing the Decision

You have only a short time to appeal the decision by the workers’ compensation judge. The time limit should be stated in the written decision. Your appeal needs to explain how the judge made a legal error or why the decision was not supported by enough evidence. Because doing this requires making technical legal arguments, you need to work with an attorney when filing an appeal.

Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals

The higher court that decides workers’ compensation appeals in Minnesota is called the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA). A panel of 3 or 5 judges will consider your appeal. They make a decision based on the evidence from the hearing, oral arguments made by your attorney, and legal research. The judges have only 90 days to issue the written decision. Again, review the decision with your attorney. In rare cases, workers can appeal WCCA decisions again, to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? 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.