Not every workers’ compensation claim is going to be successful. It might be partially or completely rejected by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWCC), leaving injured claimants without the full damages to provide relief for their injuries. However, they might be able to appeal the commission’s decision and receive a second look.
An adverse decision might come back from the VWCC for different reasons. The most common is compensability of the injury. The Commission could find that the injury did not result from the individual’s employment. There might also be a safety rule violation, a pre-existing condition, or a termination for cause defense that is the basis for a denial.
Appealing a workers’ compensation decision is case-specific. The person should discuss with a workers’ compensation attorney about how to make that decision, as it is difficult to predict which cases will be reversed by the Full Commission on Appeal.
After a decision is issued, the injured worker has 30 days to appeal it to the Full Commission. They must send correspondence to the VWCC stating they wish to appeal. The VWCC will send out a schedule for written statements that identifies the dates by which both sides have to submit their appeal brief, with the appealing party submitting first.
The VWCC reviews all of the evidence and briefs and will issue their ruling affirming or reversing the deputy commissioner’s decision.
To ensure a successful workers’ compensation claim, the injured worker needs to file the claim form correctly and within the statute of limitations.
Next the injured employee should make sure they have all of the medical records from every treating physician. The attorney can obtain additional opinions from the treating physicians when something is unclear in the medical records and can gather the necessary exhibits. Lastly, any witnesses—especially witnesses to the accident—need to be subpoenaed to testify at the hearing.
An example of an exhibit for a workers’ compensation claim is when the injured worker is partially disabled from work and they filed a claim for lost wages. They are required to conduct a job search which is called marketing. The attorney then presents the client’s marketing logs at the hearing as an exhibit.
When the manner of injury or the reporting of the injury is in dispute, an accident report may be an important exhibit to introduce. If the injured employee was terminated, the documentation regarding the reasons for the termination could be an exhibit.
If the manner of the accident is in dispute or there is a safety rule violation issue, pictures of the accident scene or particular pieces of equipment from the scene could be important as well.
A denial of damages from the Workers’ Compensation Commission does not automatically mean that no relief is possible. Depending on why the benefits were denied, a skilled lawyer who takes workers’ comp cases in Chesterfield County could mount an appeal to reverse the decision.
A workers’ compensation lawyer could first determine whether or not the decision is something that should be appealed. Some cases have a low chance of reversal at the Full Commission level, whereas other cases have a much better chance of success.
When a case has a better chance of getting a reversal, the attorney can write the appeal brief highlighting the facts that are favorable to their client’s case. They search for case law and statutes that support their position and demonstrate to the Full Commission that they should reverse their client’s unfavorable decision. If you are looking to appeal, call today to learn about what your options might be.