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How the Workers’ Comp Appeals Process Works

If your workers’ compensation claim was denied, this is not the end of the road for you. The next step would be to move forward with the appeals process. For many, this is likely a first-time experience, which means you might be unclear about how to process works. First, it is vital that you seek the assistance of a skilled legal professional who is experienced in handling such cases. He or she will help you navigate the appeals process and ensure you do not make any unnecessary mistakes that may result in failure. However, you should also take some time to illuminate yourself on what you might be able to expect at this point.

Filing for a Workers’ Compensation Appeal

To file an appeal with the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB), you will have to file a Petition for Reconsideration with the local district office where your case was heard. It is critical not to miss the small window of opportunity you have to do this, which is 20 days from the date you received the decision or award from your local district. If you received the judge's decision via mail, you have 25 days from the date of the decision, which will be located near the judge’s signature on the document.

Only file the Petition for Reconsideration if you believe the evidence in your case does not support the judge’s decision, or if you have new evidence that you could not have discovered before your original hearing or trial. Once you file it, the appeals board has 60 days to either accept or deny it. However, you can consider your petition denied if you do not receive a response within 60 days. If the appeals board accepts your petition, they will either affirm, amend, or reject your original decision or award.

If, after the decision, you or your employer’s insurance company is unhappy with the decision, it can be appealed to the state appellate court for a “writ of review.” This is filed with the court of appeal in the appellate district where you live, though their abilities are limited. It cannot reverse any findings of fact that were made by the appeals board. It can only consider whether the decision was reasonable. That said, it is typically uncommon for an appellate court to overturn the appeals board's decision, so ask yourself if this final step is worth the effort.

You must file a petition for writ of review within 45 days of the petition for reconsideration’s denial. If you are still not satisfied with the results, you would have the right to appeal your case to the California Supreme Court, though they rarely hear workers’ compensation appeals.

How Long do Workers' Comp Appeals Take?

While every appeal will be different, the workers' compensation appeals process will generally take anywhere from 2 to 4 months. In any case, it is important to carefully review your options with an attorney to determine if an appeal is worth your time.

Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Sacramento, California

If you were injured at work and filed a workers’ compensation claim that was denied, you will need the assistance of a skilled workers’ compensation attorney to help you navigate the appeals process. At Smolich & Smolich, our Sacramento legal team is ready to get started on your appeals case and will assist you with it. You do not have to go through this alone.

If we cannot win your case, you will not owe us any legal fees!

Contact our office today at (888) 452-0703 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about what we can do for you.

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