Our firm has been representing injured claimants in our community since before the Industrial Commission and Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) were established. We are here to help guide you through the administrative procedure before these agencies.
Injuries can have devastating medical and financial consequences for a worker and their family. During an injury, paychecks can be cut off, medical bills accumulate and can possibly cause an injured worker to sell their home. Employers may try to send you to a doctor of their choice, or a “hired doctor”, who will say that your injury is mild and doesn’t require the treatment initially recommended by your doctor. Our job is to make sure you are treated fairly throughout the entire process.
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is an administrative agency that oversees claim application, claims, and serves as a repository for claim documents. The Bureaus has authority to make some decisions pertaining to your claim, however, those decisions may be appealed to the Industrial Commission.
Whenever a dispute arises, regarding a claim, the Bureau refers the claim to the Industrial Commission. The Commission is an adjudicatory agency that utilizes Hearing Officers to decide disputed issues. The first hearing is held before a District Hearing Officer, who will make a decision based documents in the claim file (medical documents, accident reports, and other relevant information) and information presented at the hearing. The decision of the District Hearing Officer can be appealed. If the District Hearing Officer’s decision is appealed, another hearing will be held before a Staff Hearing Officer. The Staff Hearing Officer will based their decision on the claim file and information presented at the hearing. A decision from a Staff Hearing Officer may also be appealed to the Industrial Commission. An appeal to the Industrial Commission is discretionary, which means the Commission may or may not hear the appeal. Beyond the Commission, some issues may be appealed to court in various manners.
It is important to note, that District Hearing Officers and Staff Hearing Officers are attorneys, not medical professionals. Their decision is based on the evidence provided.
No matter which level your case requires, we are here to help you and to see that you are treated fairly.