One would like to think that all worker’s compensation claims would be honored without too much fight if employees were honest with their injuries, but the world isn’t quite that easy. While many worker’s compensation claims go smoothly, there are many others that find themselves with their worker’s compensation claim getting denied for procedures that they actually need. When a claim has been declined, there are two potential options to pursue – a hardship hearing and a final hearing. Depending on the circumstances of your case and where you are at in the healing process, one choice in hearing may be more useful to your case than the other.
A hardship hearing can be requested by the injured worker. It is used when your claim has been declined and you are still in the healing process from your injuries. When healing is still happening is often when worker’s compensation declines to pay since many of the procedures can be expensive, but not always viewed as necessary. For example, your employer’s insurance might not blink at awarding worker’s compensation to pay for a bandage on a bleeding wound, but if you injured your knee and you need a surgery to regain full use of that knee, they may deny the claim. This is exactly what a hardship hearing is for.
During a hardship hearing, the judge will examine just the one portion of a claim that was denied coverage. They will make judgment solely on this denied procedure. They will decide if the injury happened during your employment and thus if it needs coverage. If, using the above example, your leg was injured at work, then covering a surgery to fully fix your knee would be necessary. However, if your employer can prove a prior history of knee damage, then they may be able to argue that the denial was just. Afterwards, the claim will remain open for further coverage until you reach your maximum amount of healing. By keeping the claim open, this can allow you to contest future procedure denials, which is why you should always choose a hardship hearing if you are still healing.
A final hearing should be saved until you have reached the full amount of recovery from your injury. This is because once you engage in a final hearing, the judge will assign you your final award for your injury and medical treatment, afterwards the case will be closed and no more compensation can be received. Unfortunately, this hearing can be requested by either employee or employer. If your employer is eager to have the case over with, they will try to push for a final hearing.
As an evidentiary hearing, both sides of the case will be able to present evidence on the injury. The employer’s evidence may limit the amount of compensation that you receive, but you and your worker’s compensation attorney can present evidence and expert testimony on your medical history to help support your claim as well.
No matter which claim suits your needs after a denial, you will want an attorney to represent you in the process. Handling worker’s compensation appeals is a complex process and one missed or wrong step in the procedure could mean you are locked from the compensation that you need for good.
If you are in Minnesota and need help starting the worker’s compensation process after a work injury, contact us today. Let the Law Office of Joshua Borken represent you and make sure your claim goes as smoothly as possible. We want you to get as much compensation as your injury needs so you can get fully back on your feet.