When you get injured on the job, you have a lot of questions. Are worker’s compensation benefits at issue? Can a worker be denied worker’s compensation benefits?
Worker’s compensation benefits are often denied. Worker’s compensation insurers deny claims by filing a Notice of the Denial stating the reason for the denial. The Notice of the Denial is the document that will document whether the insurer is denying all or part of the employee’s claim for compensation.
The worker’s compensation insurer is required to notify the employee within 21 days of receipt of the claim petition that the claim is being denied. This is where a worker’s compensation attorney is imperative. An attorney can help you understand your rights and how to challenge such a denial.
A worker’s compensation attorney can guide you through the discovery process involved in worker’s compensation litigation. “Discovery” is the process by which each side learns information in the possession or control of the other side.
Sometimes there will be disagreements on what discovery must be produced and what discovery should be protected from production. When such disputes arise, the court will hear motions, or requests, from each side. The compensation judge will then make a decision and either order one side or the other to produce something or permit one side or the other not to produce something.
Attorneys can be very helpful, even essential, during this process. It is important to make the most of the discovery process so that you can evaluate your case. What you learn from the other side is likely to either strengthen or weaken your case.
Either way, it is important to know the cards that the other side is holding and avoid the element of surprise. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your case will also help you effectively negotiate a settlement of your case if you wish, and help you understand what type or amount of settlement is fair and appropriate in your case.
A worker’s compensation attorney can represent you at the settlement hearing at the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings, a division of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. A compensation judge will preside over your case. If the attorneys can reach a settlement resolution, with your approval, you may obtain payment on your denied claims.
A settlement usually means that both sides are giving a bit on their original position in order to save time, money, and prevent the stress and risk of trial. The amount you may obtain in a settlement will depend on the strength of your case and that of your opponent.
If you are unable to settle, the compensation judge will hear the entire case and make a decision at the trial. Attorneys are helpful at this stage in order to present witnesses and other evidence on your behalf and argue your case within the bounds of the law, ultimately requesting the maximum appropriate amount of relief for you. You will find this process much more efficient and much less stressful with the help of an experienced attorney at your side.