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How to Win a Workers’ Compensation Appeal

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If you’re injured on the job or learn that your medical condition was caused by your working conditions, you are entitled to pursue workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, some employers and insurers fight workers’ compensation claims. Your employer might dispute your claim to try to keep its insurance premiums from going up, or the insurance carrier might deny your claim to try to avoid paying you benefits. Fortunately, if your claim is denied in the Show-Me State, you can appeal it to the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission at the Missouri Department of Labor. Scroll down to learn how to win a workers’ compensation appeal with the help of an attorney.

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you want to learn how to win a workers’ compensation appeal, your first step is to make sure that you report your injury and take all of the steps you are required to take by law.

In addition, make sure to document everything. Document all conversations in writing when they occur so that you have a record of what was said. Make sure that you communicate about your injuries and claim in writing, and make sure those documents are dated and signed. Keep copies to give to your lawyer.

Don’t rely on your supervisor’s word that they submitted an incident report. Ask for a copy of any report your supervisor completes. In some cases, supervisors might refuse to fill out an incident report when they deem an injury to be minor or when the claimants don’t know the exact time and date that their pain began. You can avoid this issue by putting your claim in writing. Write a letter to your supervisor documenting the date you reported your work injury and the fact that the supervisor refused to provide an incident report or medical care. Provide a copy to your supervisor, and retain a copy.

Keep in mind that your employer is prohibited from retaliating against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If your supervisor acts in a retaliatory way anyway, document their actions in writing and ask for the behavior to end. Again, give copies to your supervisor, their boss, and human resources, and keep a copy for your records.

Finally, note that employers are required to file a report with the Division of Workers’ Compensation whenever an employee is injured. You are only required to provide a rough date for your injury that includes the month and year. For example, if you have a repetitive use injury, you can list the date of your injury as the date your doctor tells you that it was caused by your job.

If your claim is denied despite your thorough documentation, you should contact a lawyer for help with your appeal.

How to Win a Workers’ Compensation Appeal

While employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in Missouri to pay for valid claims filed by employees who are injured or sickened at work, some employers deny these claims. If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, you will need to understand the reasons for the denial.

If the denial was simply due to a clerical error, you might be able to get a reversal by placing a phone call. If your claim was denied for any other reason, you should speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for help with your appeal. The workers’ compensation appeals process can be complicated, and you can increase your chances of winning by working with an experienced attorney.

Understanding the Appeals Process

You must file an appeal of your denial no later than 20 days after you receive the notice of denial from your employer’s insurance company. You will file a request for the Labor Commission to review your claim. If your application to the Labor Commission is denied, you will have to file a notice of appeal with the Missouri Court of Appeals no later than 30 days after you receive the notice of denial from the Labor Commission.

Your appeal should include evidence that shows why your claim should not have been denied. For example, if your employer claims your injury did not happen at work, you can submit evidence, such as accident reports, witness statements from your coworkers, or surveillance video showing your accident. If the insurance company denied your claim and argued it was not serious enough, you can submit evidence of the severity of your injuries, such as medical reports, photographs, test results, imaging studies, or a statement from your doctor.

An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave can help you gather evidence and interview your coworkers and other witnesses. This can help ensure that the documentation you provide with your appeal is accurate and fully supports your claim.

Do you need help with your workers’ compensation appeal? Call us today to request a free consultation at 417-322-2222 or contact us online.