Usually, workers’ compensation is a pretty straightforward process. If you get hurt while working, your company has insurance that will pay for your medical care and any lost wages. You’ll either get your old position back upon your return or a position of equal pay. However, sometimes, workers have to go through arbitration. This can be scary if you don’t understand what it involves. Below, we’ll explain what it entails, but it’s still a good idea to have an attorney by your side.
Arbitration is a legal term that refers to resolving a dispute outside of the court system. When it comes to workers’ compensation, it means that you and the insurance company agree to bring in a third party, an arbiter, to help resolve the issue.
It’s important to know that the arbiter’s word isn’t necessarily the final one. If they rule against you, it isn’t binding. Both parties need to agree on the resolution, but an arbiter can make a big difference.
Even though it occurs outside of the court system, it’s still a fairly formal process. The arbiter will listen to arguments from both sides and even review evidence presented. Essentially, the arbiter stands in for an actual judge. Occasionally, a whole panel of them may be used.
Sometimes, if there’s a dispute, arbitration is required. Again, this is where having an attorney can make all the difference. They’ll help you weigh your options if your claim is in dispute.
What Happens if You Lose Arbitration
This is definitely a risk you need to consider. While arbitration is very much about resolving differences, there are still winners and losers. If the arbiter’s ruling is not to your liking, though, the state will be the deciding factor on how to handle it. In Nevada, for example, you have the right to appeal. This will mean going right to your Appeals Office. You can even receive legal services for free in order to do so.
What to Do If You Lose Your Appeal
Given the weight of the Appeals Office’s decision, it’s suggested that you always hire your own attorney or at least consult with one who has experience in this field. In Nevada, if you lose your appeal, you’re stuck with the initial decision. This is a good reminder that even arbitration or filing the claim itself is something you should seek legal counsel for.
If you lose arbitration, your attorney will most likely have a recommendation about whether or not appealing that decision is worth it. Litigation is never a quick process. The amount of time it takes will most likely take a financial toll on you and could even drain you emotionally.
Whether it’s choosing arbitration or deciding to appeal, time is always of the essence. The state provides generous deadlines, but you have to consider how long it will take to formulate an argument and collect evidence. It’s best to get started ASAP.
Arbitration can be a very helpful tactic when you find that your workers’ compensation claim is being disputed. As we’ve recommended throughout this article, though, it’s wise to have an attorney help you with it.