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The workers' compensation hearing process

When New Yorkers get hurt on the job, many can seek workers' compensation to address the financial consequences of the harm. But receiving that compensation is not as easy as snapping one's fingers and having the money magically transferred to their bank account; it takes the successful navigation of the workers' compensation process, which, as the rest of the post will underscore, can take longer than New Yorkers may expect.

That process starts by building a case, which is then brought to a workers' compensation board. The board may then choose to have one or more hearings in front of a workers' compensation law judge. During the hearing, the judge may listen to testimony and evaluate other evidence, including medical records. After considering the evidence presented, the judge will issue a ruling denying or approving an award. If an award is granted, the judge will also decide on the size of the award.

From there, either side may appeal, provided they do so in writing within 30 days of the judge's decision. If the request for appellate review is granted, three members of the board will look at the case again. The members can dispose of the case in several ways. Specifically, they can affirm, modify or rescind the original decision.

If the three members' decision is not unanimous, an interested party can ask the full board to look at the case yet again. Just like the earlier three-member panel, the full board can affirm, modify or rescind the previous decision.

Following this decision, yet another appeal is possible -- this time to the Appellate Division, Third Department, Supreme Court of the State of New York. The appeal must be lodged in writing within 30 days of the previous decision. And from there, one final appeal is available -- to the Court of Appeals, the highest New York state court.

Source: New York State Workers Compensation Board, "Workers' Compensation (On-the-Job Injury or Illness)," Accessed June 2, 2015

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