Can I appeal if my workers’ comp claim has been denied?
Illinois workers’ compensation is designed to support injured workers as they recover from job-related trauma. State law provides a broad set of guidelines for employees who wish to apply for compensation after an accident. Unfortunately, not all cases are successful in the first round. People have the right to appeal a denied workers’ compensation claim.
Workers may appeal their cases
Many workers’ compensation claims are complex and controversial. There may be issues of privacy, security or unethical workplace practices. There may also be pre-existing medical conditions that influence the outcome of a case. These issues can hinder the initial stages of a claim, as a workers’ compensation Illinois lawyer knows. The appeal process gives the injured worker a second chance.
How does an appeal usually work?
When a claim for workers’ compensation is denied, the injured worker can initiate a series of actions that may proceed as far as the Illinois Supreme Court if necessary. The procedure usually follows some or all of these steps:
- Employees may appeal a denied claim by bringing their case to arbitration.
- If arbitration fails, a petition may be filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
- If the IWCC denies the petition, the case is forwarded to a panel of three experts for further review.
- If the panel returns a negative verdict, the injured worker may appeal the case to higher courts, including the Circuit Court and, if necessary, the state Supreme Court.
A workers’ compensation Illinois lawyer is aware that most appeals are resolved before they reach the last stages of this process. According to statistics compiled by the IWCC, the state Supreme Court normally decides on no more than five workers’ compensation cases per year.
Preparing for an appeal
Getting ready for an appeal can be challenging, especially for workers who are still recovering from a job-related injury or illness. It is important to seek advice and avoid revealing details of the claim to colleagues, friends or family members. At this stage, injured workers should work closely with doctors to obtain medical testimony about the case. This testimony may be decisive during the appeal process.
Good chance of success
An Illinois workers’ compensation appeal has a good chance of success. According to the IWCC, fewer than 10 percent of cases sent to arbitration are dismissed outright. Many workers receive full compensation after their appeal.
If you have been denied benefits, you have options. You may find it helpful to speak with a workers’ compensation Illinois lawyer about the details of your case.