When you get hurt on the job or find yourself unable to work because of a job-acquired illness, workers’ compensation should help protect you. Your employer has to carry insurance specifically to protect you from injuries and illnesses related to your employment.
If you get hurt in a machinery accident or sickened due to chemical exposure, you can file a workers’ compensation insurance claim. A successful claim will mean medical benefits that cover your treatment costs and possibly disability benefits if you can’t work or can’t keep the same job anymore.
Sometimes, workers coping with a serious medical condition get denied benefits. How do you respond to a denied workers’ compensation claim?
You can ask for a hearing
Typically, workers who feel that the denial of their claim was unfair can heal. This process often involves trying mediation first. However, many workers need to request a hearing from the Office of Administrative Hearings. The judges that oversee such hearings specialize in benefits cases and can help workers unfairly denied the workers’ compensation they deserve. Unfortunately, sometimes workers have difficulty even at the appeal stage.
Minnesota actually has a specialty court, the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals, to resolve these cases. There are five judges, each of whom serves a six-year term. The sitting Governor nominates judges when one term ends, and state Senators approve the choice. If you disagree with a decision by a judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings or the Workers’ Compensation Division at the Department of Labor and Industry, you can ask the court to review the case.
Navigating a workers’ compensation appeal isn’t easy
Many people think that applying for workers’ compensation is an easy process until they don’t get their benefits. There are also people who think that they can handle the bureaucratic processes of a benefits appeal alone.
However, having professional help is often wise. Someone familiar with the appeals process will know how to gather evidence and present the matter in a way that increases your chances of success. Additionally, trying to manage the complex claims appeal can be very stressful, which might impact your recovery. Bringing in a professional to manage the appeals process means that you can focus on your medical recovery rather than the need for a financial one.
Knowing your rights when it comes to appealing a denied workers’ compensation claim can help you get the benefits you need.