Things to keep in mind when preparing for a workers’ compensation appeal

13983377_s (1)According to the records of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, nearly 1,500 workers’ compensation cases were appealed in 2013. Injured workers have the right to appeal if they are denied benefits or offered insufficient compensation. Employees suffering from the aftermath of a workplace accident can increase their chances of a successful appeal by learning about the system and avoiding some common mistakes.

Know how the appeal process works

The first step in preparing for an appeal is knowing how the process works. A workers’ compensation appeal most often goes through the following stages:

  • Employees denied sufficient workers’ compensation can take their cases to arbitration.
  • If the arbitration process is unsuccessful, employees can petition the IWCC to have the decision appealed.
  • The IWCC decides whether to approve the petition for appeal.
  • If the petition is approved, the case is sent to a three-person panel for review.
  • If the review is negative, the appeal may be pursued further in the Illinois Supreme Court. 

At each stage in this process, the injured employee may be called upon for interviews, depositions or hearings. Employers and co-workers may also be involved in the appeal.

Use discretion in personal life while preparing for an appeal

In an age of social media and instant sharing, injured workers need to use great discretion as they pursue a workers’ compensation appeal. Social media posts, phone messages, and other evidence can be used by employers who seek to prove that employees are not truly disabled by their workplace injuries. A 28-year-old truck driver in the Chicago area was recently denied an appeal in a case involving severe back injury when his employer found social media posts that showed him enjoying a vigorous game of basketball with friends. Use social media carefully or even consider taking a break from it while getting ready for an appeal.

Seek legal aid before speaking about the case

The appeal process normally involves a number of personal statements by the injured worker. It is easy to slip up while making a statement and say something that could inadvertently harm the appeal. When injured workers are asked to speak about their condition, they should consult with a personal injury lawyer before saying anything about the case. Employees who suffer from pre-existing conditions especially need to seek legal advice before arguing that their injuries are work-related.

Preparing for the Illinois appeal process can help you get the compensation you need after a workplace illness or injury. To find out more about the best strategies for a successful appeal, speak with a legal professional today.

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