For injured workers, having a workers' compensation claim denied can be confusing, frustrating, and maybe even a little bit scary. Fortunately, a denied claim is not the end of the road for workers seeking compensation for injuries sustained in the workplace. Delaware's workers' compensation laws give claimants multiple opportunities to appeal if their claim is denied.
My Workers' Compensation Claim Was Denied, What Do I Do Now?
The first step is to appeal the denial to the Industrial Affairs Board (IAB) through the Delaware Office of Workers' Compensation. Immediately after receiving notice that the claim was denied, the injured worker can start the appeals process by submitting a Petition to Determine Compensation Due to the Office of Workers' Compensation. State statute of limitation laws requires this petition to be filed within two years of the date of the injury.
After the petition is filed, the employer and injured employee file pre-trial memorandums, attend a pre-trial scheduling conference, and present their cases to the IAB. Once both sides have finished introducing evidence and calling witnesses, the IAB gives its decision in writing.
For many injured workers, this is the end of the journey. However, the IAB does not always reverse the initial claim denial and, when they don't, workers can feel like they are right back to square one. Though it may feel like it, that is not the case, as injured workers can press on and appeal their claim denial through the state court system.
After the worker receives the IAB's decision upholding the initial claim denial, they have 30 days to file an appeal with the Superior Court in the same county where the workplace injury took place. If the Superior Court also denies the claim, the final chance for appeal rests with the Delaware State Supreme Court. Injured workers must appeal to the state Supreme Court within 30 days of the Superior Court's claims denial.
Consult an Experienced Workers' Compensation Attorney
A denied workers' compensation claim does not mean that you are ineligible for benefits. A skilled workers' compensation attorney can help you appeal your denied claim to the IAB—and beyond. Contact the Morris James Personal Injury Group today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation for your workers' compensation case.