Workers’ comp is the system in place for compensating workers after they are injured while on the job. The system is not perfect however, and this is an unfortunate fact. Sometimes, legitimate workers’ comp cases can be denied. If this has happened to you, or if you are worried it may happen to you, you should know what steps you can take. You do have options, and this short guide will explain them to you.
Why Your Case Was Denied
There are many reasons a workers’ comp case may be denied. The most common reason is a failure to file the case in time. It is your employer’s responsibility to file your injury report, but this does not always happen. If it is not filed before the deadline, it will be denied. Other, less common, reasons a case may be denied are:
- Not a work-related injury
- Injury was caused by a third party
- Employer is disputing the claim
- No medical treatment was given
Your next step after being denied depends on the reason for it being denied, so your first step should always be to determine what the reason was. Speak with your employer or contact the workers’ comp board.
In most cases, the appropriate response is to appeal the decision. If the case was denied due to a missed deadline, this is your only option. Before you appeal the denial, you should always speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer, who will be able to tell you if you have a chance of having your appeal considered. You will have a deadline to make an appeal, but this deadline depends on your state. It is usually 30 days.
If your employer refused to file a report, or does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you should report your employer to the workers’ comp board for your state. It is illegal for any employer not to provide workers’ compensation for his or her employees. If there is a legitimate violation, reporting it to the board will usually result in you receiving your compensation. Again, speak to a lawyer before taking this option.
Filing a Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit is almost never an option, but it is sometimes the appropriate action. Workers can never sue their employer for work-related injuries, but you can if it is denied due to not being a work-related injury. This essentially transforms the case from a workers’ comp case to a personal injury case. Consider hiring a personal injury lawyer before filing.