Jonathan H. Poznansky, Attorney at Law

What is the workers' compensation appeal process?

Being injured on the job is no small thing. What may seem like a minor incident can leave an individual with the need for extensive medical care and the inability to work for a significant period of time. These unexpected costs, medical expenses and lost wages can leave a worker in a tough financial position. Without taking action, he or she may be unable to make ends meet, which can start a snowball of debt and despair.

Fortunately, the workers' compensation system exists to help these individuals recover the money they need to get by while they recover from their injury or illness. The idea is that these workers will rest up and return to work. While that may sound great to someone who was recently injured in a workplace accident, the truth of the matter is that many claimants see their claims denied for any number of reasons. When this happens, it may be time to think about appealing the decision.

The first step in this process is to file a written appeal to the workers' compensation Board. Three of the Board's members will review the case and issue a decision either agreeing, reversing or modifying in part. They can also send the claim back for additional hearings. If a worker is still unsatisfied with the outcome after this step, then he or she can appeal to the full Board. From there, denied claims must be taken to the Appellate Division, then to the Third Department and, finally, to the state's Supreme Court.

As one can see, there are many opportunities to have a workers' compensation case reheard. Therefore, injured workers shouldn't be dejected if their first try at the plate is unsuccessful. Instead, they need to make sure they are fully prepared to make strong legal arguments on appeal. This is where many New Yorkers find the assistance of a skilled and experienced attorney to be beneficial.

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