As you work with your chosen workers’ compensation lawyer to get the outcome you deserve, you may hear mention of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. This board is not something you will likely come across in everyday life, but it is worth learning about if you are currently seeking compensation for workplace injuries.
What Is the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board?
The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board is a judicial body that reviews any petitions that have been filed to reconsider a worker’s compensation. According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, this body also regulates the adjudication process by adopting procedure and practice rules.
When you contact a workers’ compensation lawyer to represent you as an injured employee, they practice law before this very same board. Their job is to assist you in receiving compensation for leave taken from work, medical bill payments, retraining in new positions, and other benefits.
What Can the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board Do for a Worker?
Each workers’ compensation appeals board throughout the country, including California, has seven governor-appointed members that are certified by the Senate. This body can exercise its powers to review petitions, including those regarding benefits received by workers who have been injured or struck down by an illness related to their workplace.
When an injured worker and the workers’ compensation insurance company can’t agree on the outcome of compensation and benefits for an injury or illness, they can take their dispute to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
A judge with the board sets a hearing with the goal of resolving disagreements around claim denial, disability rate disputes, and more. During the trial, all of the evidence is laid out for the judge to see, including witness testimonies where appropriate.
The judge reviews the information and makes a formal decision that officially resolves the dispute. However, neither party has to accept that decision. Instead, the worker or insurance company can appeal it by filing a petition for reconsideration with the commissioner of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. This sees the beginning of a multi-step process to potentially change the outcome for the worker.
Filing a Petition for Reconsideration
If your workers’ compensation lawyer believes a petition for reconsideration is in your best interest, they will help you file it. This petition goes before three Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board commissioners who review the judge’s decision and the case facts that led to it.
Each commissioner has a right to make their own decision on the case, which they then deliver to the appeals board for a written order. This order may be for a reconsideration request to be granted or for the petition to be dismissed. If a reconsideration request is granted, the judge is given the opportunity to review it further. This is the last step towards any final changes being made or the initial decision upheld.
It can be hard to know where to turn when you are unhappy with how your workers’ compensation claim has been handled or resolved. You have every right to fight for an outcome you believe is fitting of your workplace injury or illness. Schedule a free consultation with a high-quality OC workers’ compensation attorney to find out what your options may be.