How Does The Appeal Process Work In Workers’ Compensation
In Michigan, a worker who sustains a work injury and is covered by the state’s workers’ compensation system is entitled to benefits under the Michigan Workers’ Compensation Act.
If your workers’ compensation claims are denied, you have the right to appeal the board’s decision. Here is what you need to know about how the appeals process works in Michigan workers’ compensation cases.
How the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Process Works
In Michigan, the workers’ compensation appeals board is called the Workers’ Disability Compensation Appeals Commission. It decides appeals and cross-appeals based on orders from the Workers’ Disability Compensation Agency director and the Workers’ Compensation Board of Magistrates.
The commission can also decide interlocutory appeals, which is when a trial court ruling is appealed while other parts of the case are still proceeding, regarding matters pending before the Board of Magistrates.
Usually, you need to file an appeal within 30 days of their mailed date. However, if your claim involves fee disputes, redemption reviews, and vocational rehabilitation, you only have 15 days to file.
Appealing a Denial
The process of appealing a denial begins with filing a claim for review with the Workers’ Disability Compensation Agency. You must file an application for a hearing with the agency and can do so electronically or call the agency to have a form sent to you.
Once they receive your application, your case may then be scheduled for meditation. You have a right to mediation if you’re only asking for medical treatment reimbursement; you have already returned to work, and your benefits claim is only for a certain period, or you don’t have a workers’ compensation attorney representing you.
If eligible for meditation, your claim will be assigned to a mediator who works with you and your employer to try to reach a settlement over the phone or in-person.
Workers’ Compensation Hearing
If your case regarding workers’ compensation benefits cannot be resolved through mediation, you will move onto a workers’ compensation hearing, otherwise known as a trial. The first step in this process is a pre-trial hearing, where the magistrate reviews your case and schedules it for trial. You can expect to receive notification of your pre-trial hearing roughly 45 days after filing your case. The assigned magistrate typically sets a new hearing date approximately 60 days later and takes no other actions.
Because these trials involve complex legal processes and procedures, it’s best to hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who understands Michigan’s procedural rules and can help you gather the evidence needed to win your case.
Once your lawyer has presented all the evidence, the magistrate issues a written decision. If you disagree with the decision, your next step is to file an appeal with the Commission.
When you appeal to the commission, it doesn’t accept new evidence or hold a new hearing but reviews the former hearing transcript and any previous exhibits or depositions. If again you disagree with the judge’s decision, your next step is to file a complaint with the Michigan appellate court or the Michigan Supreme Court.
Find a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Who Can Help
The workers’ compensation appeal process in Michigan is lengthy and difficult to navigate on your own. While injured workers are not legally obligated to hire a law firm to appeal, working with a lawyer who is experienced in workers’ compensation matters is a smart choice.
At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., our legal experts can help you navigate the appeals process and successfully appeal your claim. Call 1-888-MICH LAW (1-888-642-4529) today for a free consultation.