Not all workers’ compensation claims are settled immediately. Though the statistics aren’t clear, it’s estimated that around 7% to 25% of claims initially get denied annually and can vary by state. Sometimes, they’re dismissed for mundane reasons, like missed deadlines or clerical errors.
The injured worker can file an appeal when the insurer denies a claim. This usually leads to a workers comp hearing and a judge weighing the facts of the case. Depending on the evidence presented, they can approve or deny your claim.
But, as you may well know, the workers’ comp process can take a long time. And if you’re an injured worker who can’t go to work, time is something you don’t have. Bills and landlords don’t wait for workers comp settlements.
So, if you’re in the middle of a workers comp court battle, you’re probably wondering how soon the workers’ comp judge’s decision will come out.
To answer that, you first need to understand the workers’ comp process and the role of the judge’s decision in your workers’ comp case.
HOW IMPORTANT IS A WORKERS COMP JUDGE’S DECISION?
A workers comp judge’s decision is important as it has far-reaching consequences than you might imagine.
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t just affect your workers’ comp benefits. If your case involves a civil or criminal liability, the workers’ comp judge’s decision may influence the outcome of those cases, too.
In addition, the decision of a workers comp judge is final unless you appeal the decision.
With these, we cannot stress enough the importance of a favorable workers comp decision. You should come to the hearing fully prepared to ensure the judge decides in your favor. Hiring an experienced workers comp lawyer like Victor Malca will also increase your odds of winning your case. He’s been defending the rights of injured workers for almost three decades. He can help you get the benefits you deserve, too.
HOW LONG DO MOST WORKERS COMP CASES TAKE?
How long it takes for a workers comp claim to get settled depends mainly on the circumstances of each case. If the claim is approved initially, you should contact your check within a few weeks. But if you have to go through a administrative hearing it can take anywhere on the average 6 months to 1 years. Some cases may even take longer.
So, if you’re wondering when you can expect a workers comp decision, you need to consider the facts of your case first.
In general, work injury claims that are “indisputable” tend to get approved faster. This usually means:
- you have workers comp coverage
- you reported your injury within the timeframe prescribed by the law
- your medical records support your injury claim
- there are witnesses to the accident who can prove that it happened while you were at work
If you can’t produce evidence to prove the above, your claim can become a long, drawn-out battle between you and your insurance provider. In cases like this, the workers comp judge once all the evidence is present will make a ruling within 30 days.
THE WORKERS COMP CLAIMS PROCESS
To understand why some workers comp cases take years while others only weeks, you must understand the compensation claims process.
Though workers comp laws vary across states, most claims process starts with an injury report. In Florida, you only have 30 days to report your injury to your employer. They, in turn, must inform your insurance provider within 7 days.
Your insurance carrier will evaluate your claim after receiving your injury report. This usually involves validating the evidence submitted. They may also conduct their investigation. Depending on their evaluation, they may approve or deny your claim.
You can request a hearing if your claim is denied by the insurance carrier. However the parties will be required to attend the mediation to resolve the issue. If the issues cannot be resolved, at the time, mediation and final hearing will be scheduled.
During the mediation, you, your employer, and your counsel will sit down and try to settle. A third-party mediator will also be present to mediate.. The case must be resolved by an administrative judge, if settlement isn’t reached during the mediation.
You must present your case before a judge at the workers’ comp hearing. This is your last chance to convince the judge why you deserve those benefits. If you have a workers comp lawyer, they can help you throughout the process.
WHEN SHOULD YOU EXPECT A NOTICE OF DECISION
How long does it take a judge to approve a workers’ comp settlement? Remember that the judge won’t decide on the final day of your workers’ comp hearing. It will take some time for them to formulate and write their decision.
In most cases, receiving a notice of decision takes 30 days after the last day of the hearing. It will be sent by mail to your registered mailing address. Your insurance provider and workers’ compensation lawyer will each receive a copy of the decision, too.
CAN YOU APPEAL A JUDGE’S DECISION?
As mentioned, the decision of a workers comp judge is final in most cases. But you can still appeal their decision if you think the judge made an error.
The appeals process varies by state, but you’ll need to file a Notice of Appeal in your state’s appellate court and pay the necessary filing fees. The court will then review your appeal and the workers’ comp trial to see if the judge made a mistake.
Remember, however, that appealing a workers comp judge’s decision won’t be easy. The appeals hearing is not a review of the facts of your case. Instead, the a pellet court will review the trial record to see if the judge misapplied the law or made mistakes in the procedure. You must have indisputable proof that the judge erred to win the appeal.
I WON MY WORKERS’ COMP CASE NOW WHAT?
Now that you have emerged victorious in your worker’s compensation lawsuit, there are a few essential steps. Firstly, ensure you understand the judge’s decision and what benefits you are entitled to receive. Notify your employer about the outcome and communicate with the workers’ compensation insurance company to initiate the process of obtaining your benefits.
Consider consulting with a workers’ compensation attorney for further guidance and protection of your rights. Keep up with any necessary medical care and comply with reporting requirements. Stay informed about any changes in laws or regulations that may affect your case. Winning your case is a significant accomplishment, but navigating the post-case process diligently is crucial to securing the benefits you deserve.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.
Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.