Appeals of unfavorable workers' compensation decisions

After a workplace injury, an injured Stockton, California, employee may need help with medical bills and may also need some income to supplement his or her time off of work. This is what California's no fault workers' compensation is for, and it is designed to get benefits to injured employees quickly and, hopefully, with minimal hassle.

Unfortunately, not every workers' compensation claim goes smoothly for the employee. Sometimes, there may be a real question about whether the injury is covered, and at other times, it may be an issue over the amount of compensation owed. It is also a sad reality that some employers and insurance companies may take a hard line position on a claim, even if it seems like they really do owe the employee additional money.

After an unfavorable decision, a California employee has a right to appeal. Although such is not always the case, in general, the first step to take is to bring the matter before a special workers' compensation judge if the employee and employer or insurance company are not able to work matters out informally.

If an employee is still not satisfied after this individual judge makes his or her decision, the employee may seek reconsideration from the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board. The employee must do so within 60 days after the unfavorable decision gets finalized.

Although workers should be cautioned that the Appeal Board does not have the authority to re-do the individual judge's decision, it does have the power to make corrections or ask the individual judge to correct its ruling under certain circumstances, including the existence of new evidence that the judge did not have the benefit of reviewing.

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