Even if the insurance company has refused to settle your claim, you have a right to appeal the final decision.
If the insurance company refused to settle and you lost your claim at an evidentiary hearing, all hope may not be lost. You have the right to appeal the final decision from the court within twenty days of the decision. In order to do this, you most likely will have to hire a St. Louis workers compensation attorney who has experience with the appellate process.
The evidentiary hearing is held before an administrative law judge. The judge will hear the facts set forth both by both parties and make a decision on whether or not your claim deserves an award. Once the ruling is final, either you or the insurance company may appeal the decision.
The first appeal either party can make after the hearing is to the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission. This Commission is a three judge panel that will review the original hearing transcript. While you do not get a new hearing, your attorney will file a brief with the court and may request an opportunity to present your case in front of the panel. The brief will outline your argument for the panel. Once the panel reviews the transcript and briefs, it can either agree with the decision rendered at the hearing or reach a new decision.
If you still are not happy with the ruling after the Commission’s decision, you have another option. Either party may then file an appeal with the Missouri Court of Appeals, but this is more limited than the first appeal. Note however, that this is extremely unlikely and must be approved by the Missouri Supreme Court. The Missouri Court of Appeals will also review the transcript and legal briefs filed by both parties. However, the Court of Appeals cannot find new facts and can only rule on legal mistakes. All facts determined at the lower levels will be assumed true.
Appeal of Temporary Awards
If at the hearing you were granted a temporary or partial award on your claim, you will not be able to appeal the decision. However, if the court ordered the insurer to make temporary payments, the insurer may contest the ruling in the manner described above.
Often times insurance companies will reach a settlement with an injured worker. Unfortunately, if you accept a settlement you will not be able to appeal it. This is because you necessarily agreed with the settlement terms when you accepted the deal. The only time you may appeal an agreement reached by both parties is when there was a clerical error or it was fraudulently entered into.
Contact an Attorney
Assuming you did not have an attorney at your hearing, it is highly recommended that you hire an experience St. Louis workers compensation lawyer for your appeal. There are many deadlines and procedures that must be followed for your appeal to be successful.
Many people take settlements because they are afraid of losing at their hearing. Unfortunately, many end up not being happy with the final decision. If this happens to you, thankfully the courts provide a remedy to ensure a legitimate claim wasn’t incorrectly ignored. Now that you know your options, a qualified St. Louis work injury attorney can take over and ensure your rights are protected.
At the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann, we can provide you with the necessary information to make the right choices so that you can receive the best medical care, benefits and income. Call us today for a free consultation at (314) 361-4300 or fill out our online contact form.