Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Appealing in Workers Compensation
In Colorado when a workers comp dispute has not been resolved one of the parties or both of them may seek to proceed on the disputed issues to a hearing. Should that happen an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will likely issue an Order deciding the disputed issue or issues. So if the decision goes against the claimant or in favor of the claimant it does not mean the matter has been resolved. One side or sometimes both sides have a right to appeal. The next stage is ICAP (Industrial Claim Appeals Panel) when an appeal of the decision is sought. From there you can appeal even further to the Court of Appeals and perhaps even to the Colorado Supreme Court. You can read some information on this process by clicking here. In this process there may be good news and bad news. You can win at the hearing and lose at the appeal or even lose at ICAP but then win at the Court of Appeals. Even if it is all good news and you are winning and winning through this process the bad news is that it all takes time. It is not good to be owed money but payment is delayed for many months during an appeal. Let me give an example...the insurer admits you are permanently partially disabled and even begins paying those benefits but the claimant says he is permanently and totally disabled. This dispute may go to a hearing and then an appeal but does the claimant continue to get benefit checks during this process? Not always. The other side may pay but only as much as it admitted for even though it lost at the hearing. It is allowed to appeal and to contend the hearing judge was wrong. This entire process can take over a year or even longer and while statistics tell us the hearing judge is more often affirmed then reversed the delays can be financially tough to handle. Of course there are times the claimant loses and after appeals the judge is reversed. This might mean a lot of back due compensation is due a claimant. Nothing simple or quick about appeals but at times they are necessary to resolve some cases.