You may find yourself in financial difficulty when your workers’ compensation claim is denied after suffering a workplace accident. The wages you miss when you are away from work and the medical expenses can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, a denied claim is not the end of the road for you. You can successfully appeal the decision and have it overturned. Here is how the process works in Pennsylvania.
Levels of appeal
There are several stages you may have to go through when appealing a denied claim. Initially, your appeal will be heard by a workers’ compensation judge who will review its merit before issuing a decision. They may approve your claim or deny it.
If your appeal is unsuccessful, you can escalate it to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (WCAB). Here, a panel will hear your appeal rather than a judge. You may appeal further to the Commonwealth Court and, finally, to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Beware of deadlines involved in the claims process
There are specific timelines you must adhere to in your appeal. Otherwise, it may be dismissed. While you have three years to file an appeal with the workers’ compensation judge, you only have 20 days to appeal to the WCAB, 30 days to the Commonwealth Court and 30 days to the Supreme Court. The days start counting after a decision has been issued at the preceding level.
Increasing your chances of a successful appeal
A good number of appeals go through at the first level. However, it is not a game of chance. Everything depends on the strength of your case. Therefore, it’s advisable to seek legal assistance before embarking on the entire process to avoid any derailments and boost your prospects.