If were hurt at work, but your workers’ compensation claim was denied, the denial may not be the final decision in your case. You may still have the right to file a workers’ compensation appeal to get the benefits you deserve.
How the Workers’ Comp Appeals Process Works
In Rhode Island, workers’ compensation appeals are heard in Workers’ Compensation Court, which is part of the Rhode Island Unified Court System. Here’s how the process works:
- A petition is filed with the RI Workers’ Compensation Court. When you file this petition, you give notification to the court that you are appealing the workers’ compensation decision. Your petition must be filed with the accompanying fee, and a copy of your petition must be sent to your employer and your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company.
- A pretrial conference will be scheduled. The court will schedule your pretrial conference for a date within 21 days of its receipt of the petition. During the pretrial conference, the judge will try to help you reach a settlement with the insurance company. If a settlement cannot be reached, the judge will issue a preliminary order that either awards you workers’ comp benefits or denies your claim. If your claim is denied, you can continue to pursue benefits by going to trial.
- The case may go to trial. If your case isn’t resolved at the pretrial conference, you have five days from the date of the pretrial order to file a claim for trial. At trial, you can present evidence, call witnesses, and make legal arguments to support your claim. The judge will make a decision based on the evidence and arguments presented.
- The case may be appealed. If the trial judge does not find in your favor, you have five days to file a Claim of Appeal with the Appellate Division of the Court. At the first level of appeal, a panel of three judges will decide whether to sustain or reverse the trial court judge’s decision. If the panel of judges denies your appeal, you may be able to file a Writ of Certiorari with the Rhode Island Supreme Court, and in some cases, the Supreme Court will hear your case.
Don’t Handle an Appeal on Your Own
You have the right to handle an appeal on your own, but hiring the right workers’ compensation lawyer is beneficial for a successful outcome. An attorney will make sure that all deadlines are met, all relevant evidence is gathered, convincing legal arguments are made, and all of your rights are protected.
Please contact the workers’ comp lawyers at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum today through our online contact form or by phone to learn more about filing a workers’ compensation appeal in Rhode Island.