The Workers Compensation hearing process involves both accepted and denied claims. Although many Workers’ Compensation claims in North Carolina are accepted by insurers and the corresponding benefits paid out, insurance companies can and often will deny claims that they believe to be outside of the scope of Workers’ Compensation insurance. When this happens, an intricate legal process of appeals and hearings begins.
The first step in the workers compensation hearing process is mediation, as ordered by the N.C. Industrial Commission. In this first step of the process, an impartial mediator will attempt to settle the dispute in such a way as to satisfy all parties involved. If a settlement cannot be reached, a hearing is set before a Deputy Commissioner of the N.C. Industrial Commission. This hearing is typically scheduled anywhere between 30 and 60 days after the failed mediation.
Workers Compensation Hearing
After a failed mediation, a Workers’ Compensation claim is sent before a Deputy Commissioner of the N.C. Industrial Commissioner. This Deputy Commissioner will act in the same manner as a judge would in a contested case at the trial level. This means that a hearing will consist of presented evidence, witness testimony, and a judgment by the Deputy Commissioner in an issued written decision. Although this may seem like the final step in the process, either party may appeal any decision made.
After the initial workers compensation hearing, either party may appeal up to another hearing before a Deputy Commissioner of the N.C. Industrial Commission. This hearing will be conducted in a similar manner as an appeal process in a courtroom setting. This means more witness testimonies and evidence, oral arguments, and written statements and briefs. Once judgment has been handed down in this appeal process, either party may choose to additionally appeal the case to a hearing before a full panel of Deputy Commissioners and then finally to the N.C. Court of Appeals.
Hiring An Attorney
As it can be seen, the hearing and appeals process of a Workers’ Compensation hearing can be quite complex and time consuming. Additionally, the process is full of procedures and legal moves that can be hard for an average lay person to understand. As such, if your Workers’ Compensation claim has been denied, it is important to consult and retain an attorney to handle your case. If you or someone you know has had their Workers’ Compensation claim denied, you should Contact Us for a free consultation. By contacting an experienced Worker’s Compensation attorney, you will receive valuable legal advice and an experienced guide through the complex Worker’s Compensation process.
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James Minick is a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, NC and is the owner of Minick Law, P.C.