Returning to Court on a Workers' Comp Appeal: Can You Win?

If your first workers' compensation hearing resulted in nothing, you can always appeal. Whether or not you win depends on any new evidence you can present to the judge to show you should be awarded the compensation you seek. Your workers' comp attorney can file the appeal, but he/she will need the new evidence to support the appeal as filed. Here are some things in a workers' comp appeal case that will first get you and your lawyer into the appeals court, and then possibly help you win your case.

Medical Proof That Your Injuries Are Worse

If you wait a month or two before attempting an appeal, you can find out if your injuries are worse. By worse, the appeals judge and the court are looking for an inability to function, constant swelling and/or lack of movement from the injured body part, a greater loss in hearing or sight abilities, etc. You will have to visit your doctors to document these changes in ability. You will need to then get copies of the visit and the doctors' determination for the level of function. These are the copies you will give to your attorney to file the appeal.

Amputations or Complete Loss of Use

If, after a few months and after your original case was dismissed, you actually lose an injured body part to amputation, refile. If you have a "complete loss of use" of any body part, that is another effective reason to file an appeal. In the first instance, the judge can clearly see that you lost the injured body part and that the first judge did not make the right call in your workers' comp case.

In the second instance, if the same injured part can no longer be used for anything, the judge will have to determine if a successful workers' comp case in the first place would have helped. If your lawyer argues that had you won your case initially you would have had better health care and, therefore, still have a functioning body part, the judge may decide in your favor. Sometimes appeals, based on the obvious evidence, finally win.

Adding Pain and Suffering

In the event that you file an appeal and the evidence of worsening pain and symptoms from your work-related injury tip the scales in your favor, ask your lawyer to include pain and suffering. Clearly, you have experienced pain and suffering through the first hearing and beyond. That entitles you to additional compensation when you file your appeal. 

If you're ready to file your appeal, contact your workers' comp attorney to get the process started.