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The workers' compensation appeal process

No one expects to be injured on the job. Yet, every year thousands of individuals find themselves suffering on-the-job injuries. A workplace injury, even a relatively minor one, can leave a worker unable to perform his or her job. Under many circumstances, this means that these individuals are unable to receive a paycheck, which, in turn, can leave them facing financial uncertainty. This is particularly true when they incur medical expenses as a result of their harm.

Fortunately, the workers' compensation system exists to help these individuals recoup their wages and medical expenses, but obtaining benefits is not a guarantee. In fact, many times employers and insurers deny a workers' compensation claim for any number of reasons, including if they believe that the injury was not suffered while the individual was performing his or her job duties. A claim may also be denied if it is found that the injury is not severe enough to affect one's ability to perform his or her job. It is therefore important for New Yorkers to realize that if their claim is denied after a hearing with a workers' compensation law judge, then they can appeal in hopes of obtaining a favorable outcome.

The first appellate step is a hearing by three members of the Workers' Compensation Board. This group of individuals can either affirm a decision, change part of a decision, or completely reject a decision. Sometimes they send the case back to a workers' compensation judge for further hearings. If an individual wants to appeal the decision made here, then the matter may go before the entire Workers' Compensation Board, which will issue a decision.

But the appeals process doesn't end there. An individual can appeal the Board's decision to the Appellate Division, then to the Third Department, and, finally, to the state's Supreme Court.

Appealing a workers' compensation claim can be difficult. However, with the assistance of a qualified legal professional, injured workers may be able to put forth evidence that is convincing and leads to the recovery of benefits they truly need. Therefore, those who want to learn more about the workers' compensation appeals process should consider discussing the matter with an attorney of their choosing.

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