You’ve been hurt on the job or are suffering a work-related illness and you’ve filed an application for workers’ compensation benefits, but your claim has been denied. Unfortunately, it’s a fairly common occurrence. Your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance provider both have a vested interest in minimizing or denying your claim for benefits. You do, however, have the right to appeal the rejection of your claim. Here’s how you do that.
The Initial Appeal
Upon the initial denial of your application for benefits, you have a choice—you can request a formal hearing through a Claim Petition, or you can ask for an information hearing.
A petition for a formal hearing must be filed with two years of the date of your injury or the last date you received any workers’ compensation benefits, whichever came last. If your claim is based on an occupational disease, the period is two years from the date you became aware of the illness and that it was likely caused by something related to your work. The formal hearing is pretty similar to a trial, as you’ll have the opportunity to introduce evidence and to bring in witnesses to testify on your behalf, such as doctors and co-workers. Once all the evidence has been considered, the workers’ compensation judge will render an opinion (in writing). If the judge rules against you, you have the right to appeal to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court in the state of New Jersey.
With an informal hearing, you’ll probably have your case reviewed more quickly. You’ll be assigned a judge, who will schedule a hearing, but the proceeding will be far less formal. The judge may make a recommendation, based on the evidence provided, but either party can reject that recommendation. Typically, if you don’t resolve the matter at an informal hearing, the next step is to request a formal hearing.
We handle all workers’ compensation cases on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.