How Do I Appeal a Workers Comp Denial?

Petition for Reconsideration

There are three levels of appeal in the California workers’ comp system. Filing a Petition for Reconsideration is the first step.

The Petition for Reconsideration is filed with the the local district office of the Workers Compensation appeals Board where your original case was heard.

You have only 20 days from the date your received the decision or award from your local district office to appeal it.

However, if the judge’s decision was mailed to you rather than handed to you personally, you have 25 days from the date of the decision.

The Petition for Reconsideration lists various reasons you can have for filing the petition; strike out the ones that do not pertain to you.

In the space for a statement of facts, you must include every issue that you think the appeals board should consider in considering your appeal. Include why you disagree with the judge’s decision, why the decision should be changed, as well as any law that supports your appeal.

Because the Petition for Reconsideration requires you to include your legal basis for appeal, the services of an experienced workers comp attorney who knows the law can be very important.

Once you file a Petition for Reconsideration, the Workers Compensation Appeals Board has 60 days to accept it or deny it. If the WCAB does not act on your petition within 60 days, you should consider the petition denied.

If the appeals board accepts your petition for review, the board will then accept, reject, or amend your original denial or award. When the WCAB makes its determination, it will mail you a notice of its decision.

Workers Comp Writ of Review to State Appellate Court

If you disagree with WCAB’s decision after the initial appeal, you (or the insurer) can appeal the decision to the state appellate court for a “writ of review.”

The Writ of Review is filed in the Court of Appeals for the district where you live. However, what the appellate court is limited in what it can do at this point. It is also very rare for the Appeals Court to overturn a decision by the appeals board.

The writ of review must be filed within 45 days of the denial of the Petition for Reconsideration.

Supreme Court Appeal of Workers Comp Cases

Technically you have the right to try and appeal your case to the California Supreme Court, if you do not agree with the Court of Appeals decision. However, when a Workers Comp case is appealed to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court does not have to accept or “hear” your case.

The Supreme Court gets to choose which appellate cases it will consider— and it only hears approximately 200 cases of the more than 7,000 cases submitted each year. The Supreme Court typically limits the cases it hears to those of far reaching impact – that effect more than just one individual.  So the California supreme court will rarely take a workers’ comp appeal.

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