How the Appeals Process Works
Whether you aren’t able to resolve a dispute in your claim or you are unhappy with the decision made in trial, you can appeal the decision to the seven-member California Worker’s Comp Appeals Board (WCAB). In this state, there are a few levels of appeal in the workers’ compensation system.
Petition for Reconsideration
To file an initial appeal with the WCAB, you must file a “Petition for Reconsideration” with the local district office of the WCAB where your case was originally heard. Only if you believe the evidence in your case doesn’t support the judge’s decision or if you have stumbled upon new evidence, you should file a Petition for Reconsideration. You have only 20 days from the date you received the decision from your local district office to appeal it.
As soon as you file the petition, the appeals board has 60 days to either accept or deny it. If the WCAB fails to act within the designated time limit, you should consider the petition denied.
If the appeals board accepts your petition for review, the board will then either affirm, reject, or amend your original decision or award. The appeal is often decided without an additional hearing. However, if you have additional evidence, the appeals board would schedule a new hearing.
Writ of Review to State Appellate Court
If you or your employer’s insurance carrier is not satisfied with the WCAB’s decision after the initial appeal, you or the insurance company can appeal the decision to the California appellate court for a “writ of review.” It is filed with the court of appeal in the appellate district where you reside.
Keep in mind, what the appellate court can do is limited in scope. For example, the appellate court cannot reverse any findings of fact established by the appeals board. What it can only do is consider whether the appeals board decision was reasonable, given the facts the appeals board had known. An appellate court rarely overturns a decision by the appeals board.
California Supreme Court
If you are not satisfied with the decision made by the appellate court, you have the right to appeal your case to the California Supreme Court. However, the state supreme court hardly ever will hear a workers’ comp appeal.
If you are interested in filing a Petition for Reconsideration to make an initial appeal in Southern California, Alvandi Law Group is committed to helping you obtain the decision or award you deserve. Schedule a free consultation with our Orange County workers’ compensation attorneys today.