You were injured at work, reported the injury to your employer as required and pursued a workers’ compensation claim only to find out that your claim was denied. What should your next step be?
Finding out that your claim was denied can be confusing and frustrating. Workers’ compensation claims can be denied for a variety of reasons, and unfortunately it is not uncommon for insurance carriers to to find some basis with which to deny your claim. It’s important for you to understand that the denial of your claim DOES NOT mean that your claim is dead. You have the right to challenge the denial of your claim through the process provided by the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
First, it’s important to talk to an experienced attorney about the reason for your claim’s denial. Whether it was because the extent of the injury is disputed, your employer denies the injury happened at work, or any number of reasons, a lawyer can help prepare a case to challenge the denial. Then you will need to have a hearing at the North Carolina Industrial Commission in front of a Deputy Commissioner. To put the hearing on the Industrial Commission’s docket, a notice of hearing will need to be filed.
Once you’ve requested a hearing, the Clerk’s Office sends an Order for Mediated Settlement Conference to all parties. The case is ordered into mediation before the hearing to encourage the parties to settle before they go in front of a Deputy Commissioner. If the case does not settle, and you are not satisfied with the Deputy Commissioner’s ruling, you can appeal the decision.
A panel of three commissioners from the Industrial Commission will hear the appeal from the Deputy Commissioner. You can then appeal decisions of the Industrial Commission to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and finally, to the North Carolina Supreme Court.
If you have been injured at work and have questions about a potential workers’ compensation claim or denial, contact Miller Law Group for a free consultation today.