New York’s workers’ compensation system is supposed to be a way for injured workers to get compensation for medical bills and lost income because of a work-related injury.
Nevertheless, for a number of reasons, an insurance company or employer might disagree with an injured worker’s claim. They may either deny responsibility for it or they may argue that they should not have to pay what the worker is claiming.
When this happens, New York’s Workers’ Compensation Board will first try to resolve the disagreement. If they cannot, then the matter will go before a workers’ compensation judge for a hearing.
Just like any other judge, the official hearing the case will look at the evidence and apply the law. Again just like any other judge, they can make mistakes.
If a worker feels like a judge has made a mistake and that they have been harmed as a result, they do have a right to appeal the decision.
The process for appealing a work comp decision can be complicated
Three members of the Workers’ Compensation Board will review an appeal.
This panel can choose to uphold the workers’ compensation judge, change the decision completely or in part or send the case back to the judge.
Drafting the appeal is an important process that requires attention to a number of details. Perhaps most importantly, the appeal must get filed within the deadline.
If a person does not meet the deadline, it could mean that they are stuck with an unfavorable decision even if they had a good argument that the decision was not correct.
Even if a worker loses their first appeal, they may have options to appeal further.
The bottom line is that a New York City worker does not have to accept a disappointing decision about their benefits. They should evaluate their legal options carefully.