Most employers are required to have workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. If you are hurt at work, whether you are part-time or full-time, you can receive benefits to help with your medical bills and lost wages.
You must first report your accident to your manager or supervisor as soon as possible. While you have 30 days to make this report, the sooner you do it, the less likely you are to experience delays in receiving your benefits.
There is no need to prove anyone was at fault for your injuries. You just have to prove that you were injured at work. While this should be straightforward, there are often bumps in the road to recovering the benefits you deserve. Your employer may not file the paperwork on time or at all, or their insurer may deny your claim. If that happens, you will need to file an appeal.
The Process of Filing a Workers’ Compensation Appeal
Your first step is to file a notice of claim through a Georgia state-approved form. This must be filed with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation within one year of the date you sustained your work injuries. A copy of this appeal needs to go to your employer and their insurer.
When you are denied the benefits you deserve, it is best to file an appeal as quickly as possible. This appeal process can take some time and you do not want to lose the evidence you need to prove that you are entitled to benefits.
Once you’ve filed your appeal, an administrative law judge will hear it. Hearings are scheduled by the state board, usually within 60 days after you file. It’s similar to a trial except there is no jury. Instead, you will present your evidence to support your workers’ comp claim. This can include using medical specialists and other expert witnesses.
Likewise, the insurer that provides the workers’ compensation coverage for your employer is also permitted to present evidence. The judge will decide the case based on the presented evidence, the facts, and all applicable laws. If you receive approval, you will be able to collect your benefits. If not, you can also appeal this decision.
Appealing the Administrative Law Judge’s Decision
If the judge denies your benefits, you can appeal their decision to the board’s appellate division. You must act quickly as you only have 20 days to file this appeal. When you are granted a hearing, it will be with the chairperson and two board members.
The evidence you have gathered must be presented during the appeal process. No new evidence will be considered. In general, the appellate division will defer to the judgment made by the administrative law judge unless it can be shown an error or mistake was made that warrants the reversal of this ruling.
You can appeal to even higher courts, but if you start the appeals process, you should obtain legal representation. You can learn more about your rights when your workers’ comp claim is denied by speaking with an attorney.