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Winning Your Denied Workers Compensation Claim

Ever found yourself staring down the barrel of a denied workers compensation claim? You’re not alone. Many face this hurdle, feeling lost in a maze designed by insurance carriers.

Yet, there’s hope—turning that denial into approval is more than just wishful thinking; it’s entirely possible to get your workers’ compensation benefits with the right approach. What happens when your comp claim hits a wall? Let’s crack open some tried-and-tested steps to get your rightful compensation instead of accepting a denied workers compensation claim.

denied workers compensation claim

Common Reasons Workers’ Compensation Claims Are Denied

You had a workplace accident and got injured. You followed all the steps to file a workers’ comp claim. But then, you get a letter denying your claim – what gives?

Unfortunately, employers and insurance providers often look for reasons to deny workers’ compensation claims – even if those reasons aren’t always valid. Here are some of the most common reasons for claim denials:

Incomplete or Late Paperwork

Missing deadlines is a surefire way to get your claim denied. Each state has different time limits for reporting injuries and filing claims. If you don’t report your injury to your employer right away and file your claim on time, you’re giving insurance companies an easy out.

Injury Not Work-Related

Your employer might argue that your injury didn’t actually happen at work or while you were performing work duties. They may claim you were off the clock, engaged in misconduct, or that your injury isn’t actually related to your job. You’ll need strong evidence to prove your workplace injury, like witness statements or medical records.

Pre-Existing Condition

If you have a pre-existing injury or medical condition involving the same body part you injured at work, the insurance company will likely use that as a reason to deny your current claim. They may demand that you prove your work injury is a new injury, not just an aggravation of an old one.

Employer Disputes Claim

Sometimes, your employer will straight-up dispute your claim. They may not believe that you’re really injured, or argue that your injury isn’t severe enough to qualify for workers’ comp benefits. In these cases, you’ll need solid medical evidence to support your claim.

Lack of Medical Treatment

If you don’t seek medical treatment right away or if there are large gaps in your treatment history, the insurance company will get suspicious. They may argue that your injury isn’t that serious or that you aren’t doing enough to improve your condition. Make sure to get necessary treatment and follow your doctor’s orders.

Steps to Appeal a Denied Workers’ Comp Claim

So, your workers’ comp claim was denied. It’s frustrating, but it’s not the end of the road because you have the right to appeal the decision. Here’s what you need to do:

File Appeal Within Deadline

The first step is to file a formal appeal with your state’s workers’ compensation board, but you need to act fast. Each state has a deadline for filing an appeal, and if you miss it, you could lose your chance to overturn the denial. In Florida, for example, you must file within two years of your injury.

Gather Supporting Evidence

To win your appeal, you’ll need to present strong evidence that supports your right to benefits. Gather all relevant medical records, doctor’s notes, witness statements, and anything else that helps prove your injury is work-related and severe enough to qualify for workers’ comp.

Request Hearing

In most states, you’ll need to request a hearing before an administrative law judge. This is your chance to present your evidence and argue your case. The judge will then review everything and make a decision on your appeal.

Attend Hearing

Make sure to show up to your hearing prepared and on time. Dress professionally, bring copies of all your evidence, and be ready to clearly explain why you believe you’re entitled to workers’ comp benefits. Consider having witnesses attend who can support your case.

Receive Decision

After the hearing, the judge will issue a written decision on your appeal. If you win, the insurance company will have to start paying your benefits. If you lose, you may have the right to appeal to a higher court, depending on your state’s laws.

How an Attorney Can Help with Your Denied Claim

Dealing with a denied workers’ comp claim is overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to recover from a work injury at the same time. You’re going up against the insurance company’s lawyers and trying to navigate a complicated legal process. That’s where a workers’ compensation attorney can make all the difference.

Review Denial Reason

An experienced attorney can review your denial letter and figure out exactly why your claim was rejected. They can then develop a strategy to overcome that reason and build a stronger case for why you deserve benefits.

Gather Necessary Documentation

A lawyer can help you gather all the necessary evidence to support your claim, including medical records, expert opinions, and witness statements. They’ll make sure your paperwork is complete and filed correctly.

File Appeal on Your Behalf

Your attorney can handle filing your appeal and all the related paperwork. They’ll make sure everything is submitted on time and to the right place.

Represent You at Hearing

If your case goes to a hearing, your lawyer will be right there with you, arguing on your behalf. They’ll cross-examine witnesses, present evidence, and make a strong case for why you deserve workers’ comp benefits.

Negotiate Settlement

In some cases, your attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company before your case even goes to a hearing. They’ll fight for a fair settlement that covers all your lost wages, medical bills, and other expenses.

What to Expect During the Appeals Process

Appealing a denied workers’ comp claim is a complex process that can take months or even years to resolve. Here’s a general idea of what you can expect:

Timeline for Appeal

The timeline for your appeal will depend on your state’s laws and the specifics of your case. Generally, you’ll have to file your initial appeal within a few weeks or months of receiving your denial letter.

A hearing will then be scheduled a few months after that. The whole process can take anywhere from several months to a year or more.

Hearing Procedures

At your hearing, you’ll have a chance to present your evidence and testimony to the administrative law judge. The insurance company will also have an opportunity to present their side. The judge will then review all the information and issue a decision, usually within a few weeks or months after the hearing.

Presenting Evidence

You’ll need to submit all your evidence, including medical records and witness testimony, before the hearing. At the hearing itself, you or your attorney will have a chance to argue your case and explain why the evidence shows you should receive workers’ comp benefits.

Receiving Decision

After the hearing, you’ll receive a written decision from the judge either awarding or denying you benefits. If you win, you’ll start receiving payments. If you lose, you may have the right to file a further appeal, depending on your state.

Further Appeals

If you disagree with the judge’s decision, you may be able to file an appeal with your state’s workers’ compensation board or in court. However, these further appeals are usually limited to reviewing whether the judge made any legal errors, not re-arguing the facts of your case.

FAQs in Relation to Denied Workers Compensation Claim

When a workers compensation claim is denied can the employee appeal the denial to the state?

Absolutely. Employees have the right to challenge a denial through their state’s workers’ comp appeals process.

What is the 90 day rule for workers comp in California?

In California, employers have 90 days after you report an injury to accept or deny your claim.

What happens to medical bills when workers comp is denied in Florida?

If denied in Florida, you’re on the hook for your medical bills unless you successfully appeal and win your case.

How long does an employer have to file a workers comp claim in California?

An employer needs to file a worker’s comp claim within one working day after learning about your injury or illness.


So here we are, standing at the crossroads where fear meets determination. Facing a denied workers compensation claim can feel like an uphill battle against profit-driven Goliaths armed with nothing but slingshots made of paperwork and perseverance.

In this journey through claims and appeals, equipped with knowledge and resilience as our trusted allies, victory becomes more than just plausible—it becomes inevitable. Here’s to transforming dread into action—and turning denied workers compensation claims into approved claims that pave the way for healing and recovery.

denied workers compensation claim