When you file a workers’ compensation claim in Colorado, it is typically handled by the Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). These judges make the decisions on such cases and determine whether an individual will receive benefits from his or her employer for the claim, or whether the claim will be denied, finding that your employer is not responsible for part or all of your injuries and related costs.
If you choose to appeal the decision you receive, your case goes to another section of the CDLE — the Industrial Claim Appeals Office (ICAO). The ICAO is responsible for reviewing workers’ compensation decisions from ALJs, as well as Unemployment Insurance decisions from hearing officers.
The Industrial Claim Appeals Panel is made up of five administrative law judges. These judges review appeals once a decision has been reached, usually after the benefits have been denied or granted. If there has been no hearing, the Panel does not hold its own hearing for the cases it handles. The ruling from the Panel is the CDLE’s final decision.
Your first step is to file a Petition to Review your original claim with the ICAO. Once this is filed, a transcript of the hearing is prepared. As the appealing party, you will have to request and pay for this transcript.
You have 20 days to file a brief in support of the appeal once the briefing schedule is issued, and the opposing party has 20 days to file a response brief. When both briefs have been received, the ALJ has 30 days to issue a supplemental order or send the case to the ICAO for review.
If you file an appeal with the ICAO, at least two Panel members will be considering your case. They can only review evidence that was already presented to the ALJ or the hearing officers at the original hearing or proceeding. No other evidence can be submitted or introduced, and if it is, the Panel members are not allowed to consider the new evidence in making their decision.
You are not required to retain an attorney when you file an appeal with the ICAO, but an attorney’s services can be invaluable in handling the timeline and paperwork necessary to file. Because the process of filing an appeal is so complex, and the appeal itself is the last response from the CDLE, any mistakes you make or deadlines you miss could cost you a favorable decision, as well as the compensation or wage replacement you need after your injury.
The Panel judges can correct, reverse or set aside a decision made by the ALJ. They can also uphold the original ruling or remand the case by sending it back the ALJ for a new hearing. Once you receive your ruling from the Industrial Claim Appeals Panel, this is a Final Order. If you disagree with the Final Order, you have to file an appeal with the Colorado Court of Appeals.
If you are filing an industrial claim appeal, you may need help. At Levine Law, our Denver workers’ compensation lawyers can walk you through the process from start to finish and ensure that you take every step to presenting your case to the ICAO. To get started, contact an attorney at Levine Law today.