If you were denied workers’ compensation benefits for a workplace injury, you have the right to an appeal. Our workers’ compensation system offers compensation for most workplace injuries. So don’t give up just because your claim was initially denied.
Mississippi operates under a “no fault” system. That is, injured workers are generally entitled to compensation benefits regardless of who is at fault for the injury. This is so even if the injury was the injured worker’s own fault. Any injury sustained during the course and scope of employment should be covered under Mississippi law.
The workers’ compensation appeal process starts by filing a “petition to controvert” with the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission. The Commission then assigns the case to an Administrative Judge to conduct a hearing. If the hearing results in an adverse decision, you can appeal within 20 days to the full Workers’ Compensation Commission. The Commission usually does not hold a hearing, but they may hold one if requested.
Then, if the Commission upholds the Administrative Judge’s decision, you can appeal further to the Mississippi Supreme Court within 30 days. Before reviewing the case, the Supreme Court nearly always assigns workers’ compensation appeals to the Mississippi Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals will then decide the appeal with a written opinion. Usually no hearing is held, but the Court of Appeals sometimes holds one if requested.
If another appeal is sought to the Supreme Court, permission to appeal must be granted. This is rare. Usually the Court of Appeals’ decision is final.
Depending on how far you go in the appeals process, it can be quite lengthy. If you appeal all the way to the Appeals Court, the appeal process will likely take over two years.
This of course will depend on the facts of your case. However, it is fair to say that an appeal to the Commission is easier than a further appeal to the Appeals Court. This is because the Commission need not defer to the Administrative Judge’s decision, but the Appeals Court must defer to the Commission’s decision. Yet the Appeals Court will overturn the Commission if the Commission’s ruling is deemed arbitrary or capricious. If you are considering an appeal, our experienced appeals attorneys can advise you on the chances of prevailing.
This will depend on the range of services needed and the complexity of the case. Generally we require an up-front retainer, and bill by the hour for our work performed. In some cases, we offer flat-fee pricing. Attorney John S. Grant IV of Grant Legal Group PA has a decade of Mississippi appeals experience. Contact him today at 601-664-0044 to discuss your case and receive a quote.