The final step in the workers’ comp appeals process is the Reviewing Board. If you’ve been unsuccessful in getting your benefits up until this point, it isn’t a lost cause just yet. The Reviewing Board is set up to make sure the judge’s decision during your Hearing was the right and legal decision. It is essential that you speak with a qualified workers’ comp attorney during the appeals process since workers’ comp law can be very complicated.
Steps in the Appeal Process
Step 1) Filing an appeal
Step 2) Conciliation
Step 3) Conference
Step 4) Hearing
Step 5) Reviewing Board
The Reviewing Board
If the Hearing does not go in your favor, you can file Form 112 – Appeal to the Reviewing Board. This must be done within 30 days of the judge’s Hearing decision and you must pay a fee equal to 30% of Massachusetts’s Average Weekly Wage. After this form has been processed, the Reviewing Board, which consists of six administrative judges (two panels of three judges), will examine your case.
What the Reviewing Board Does
Three of the six judges will examine the transcripts from the Hearing. They will also look over written briefs and could ask for oral arguments from each side. It’s important to realize that the Reviewing Board cannot examine new evidence; it can only review evidence that was submitted during the Hearing.
Altering A Judge’s Decision
The Reviewing Board has the power to alter or reverse the Hearing judge’s decision. However, they will only do this if they find that the decision:
- Was beyond the scope of the judge’s legal authority
- Was Against the law
- Had no factual justification
You could have to wait years for a decision by the Reviewing Board. However, if the Reviewing Board does decide to alter the judge’s decision, it will issue a written decision, which will be formally published. If the decision does not go in your favor, you can further appeal the decision to the Massachusetts Court of Appeals.
There are only very limited circumstances where a judge’s decision can be altered, so it’s best to speak with a workers’ comp attorney if your case gets to this level.
Contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Comp Lawyer
If your employer’s insurer has contested your workers’ comp claim, you still have options. The appeals process may seem overwhelming, but our workers’ comp attorneys at Powers & Caccavale are experienced in dealing with all aspects of the workers’ compensation process. We know what it takes to win cases and get the most compensation available for our clients. If you want to begin the appeals process, or even if you haven’t filed for workers’ compensation yet, our lawyers are ready to help you. Contact us today by filling out our free case evaluation or by calling us at (617) 379-0016.