Being injured at work is sometimes a minor affair. However, if a workplace injury is severe enough to keep a person in California from being able to work for an extended period, then that person might want to apply for workers' compensation benefits. These benefits can be the financial safety net a worker needs to make ends meet until they can return to work.
It may seem obvious to a worker why their claim should be approved. Unfortunately, sometimes an applicant's initial claim for benefits is denied. However, this need not be the end of the story.
If an applicant receives a letter from the claims administrator denying the applicant's claim for benefits, the applicant can appeal the decision. To start, the applicant needs to file a case at their area Division of Workers' Compensation office. This is a trial court in which a judge hears denied workers' comp cases. After filing the appropriate paperwork, the applicant will receive a notice that their application has been filed and will be given a case number.
After that, the applicant can file the appropriate paperwork to request a hearing. At the hearing, the judge will try to help the parties settle their disagreement. If that is not possible, a trial date will be scheduled with another judge. After the trial, the judge will issue a written decision, which will be mailed to the applicant. If the applicant wants to appeal the judge's decision, then he or she must file a Petition for Reconsideration.
Workers should not wait too long to challenge a denial of benefits, as there are timelines involved. In addition, it is important to note that since this post does not contain legal advice, those who have had their application for workers' compensation benefits denied will want to seek the professional guidance they need to determine whether to challenge the decision. Attorneys can represent workers throughout the appeals process and may be able to answer further questions on this topic.