If your workers’ compensation case goes to trial, and the arbitrator rules against you, then you can appeal. If you’ve gotten to this point in your case, then you probably know that workers’ compensation cases are different from lawsuits. An arbitrator, who is similar to a judge, oversees the trials of injured workers and makes a ruling based on the evidence.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind if you are considering an appeal. Don’t delay. There is only a certain window of time in which you can appeal a decision by an arbitrator. Also, stick with your attorney. In an appeal, the law does not allow new evidence or witnesses. The attorney handling the appeal is stuck with all the same pieces from the original trial. For this reason, a new attorney is not likely to agree to handle your appeal, especially if there were problems with the way the trial was handled in the first place.
Another thing to know, and another reason why it can be hard to find an attorney for your appeal, is that winning on appeal is unlikely. It’s not impossible, but the success rate is fairly low. It’s just not good business for a lawyer to pick up a case at this point in the process. Your original lawyer might be hesitant to appeal, but if you believe the outcome is wrong, you should insist on it. They’re likely your only shot.
This situation underscores the importance of hiring a good attorney. Not only will it help you win in the first place, but you aren’t stuck with a bad attorney for your appeal, if you need to go down that road. When looking for a workers’ compensation attorney, find someone who has a lot of experience representing injured employees. Make sure they’ve been successful, too.
If you are questioning whether you hired the right attorney, know that you can get a second opinion. You are allowed to switch attorneys. And if it’s in your best interest, then do so without delay. The longer you wait the harder it can become. Your attorney can have a significant affect on the outcome of your case. In our experience, for example, your settlement amount is likely to be higher if you have an experienced attorney negotiating with the insurer.
If you have questions about appealing your case, feel free to give us a call.