If you were injured in a workplace accident in North Carolina that resulted in medical expenses and lost wages, you may need financial assistance to prevent unnecessary burdens from being placed on your family. For most injured workers in the state, this assistance comes in the form of workers' compensation. Unfortunately, instead of receiving the assistance they need, some injured workers receive denials of benefits, leaving them wondering how to appeal workers' compensation denials.
The first step in appealing a denial of benefits by your employer is to carefully examine your copy of Form 61, which is the Denial of Workers' Compensation Claim form. This form must be filled out by your employer, and the specific reasons for the denial of benefits must be listed. Your employer cannot simply inform you verbally of a denial; you must be informed in writing.
The second step is filling out and filing Form 33, which is a request for a hearing. You can file this form yourself, but most seek the help of an experienced workers' compensation attorney at this point, if they had not done so already. Your attorney will be equipped to provide some of the answers the form requires, such as the estimated duration of the hearing, that you may not be able to answer.
After the North Carolina Industrial Commission receives your copy of Form 33, if you have a lawyer, it will send an Order for Mediated Settlement Conference to you, your attorney, your employer and your employer's insurance provider. Once you have received this order, your attorney can begin building evidence to be used to support your workers' compensation claim. While the process for appealing a denial of benefits can be complex, most find the assistance of an attorney greatly simplifies the process and removes the legal burdens from the shoulders of the injured worker.