How Do I File an Appeal for My Workers’ Comp Claim in Colorado?

Judge reading workers compensation appeal.

If you were hurt at work in Colorado, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Your claim can seek compensation for medical expenses related to your injury. However, obtaining workers’ compensation benefits is rarely easy. Employers and insurance companies frequently deny claims in Colorado.

If your workers’ compensation claim was denied, you can take steps to appeal the decision. The Sawaya Law Firm is here to help you. For more than four decades, we have aggressively protected the rights of injured workers and their loved ones in Denver and communities throughout Colorado. We can review your claim in a free consultation and discuss the ways we can assist in your worker’s compensation claim appeal.

Petition for Review

The first step in the appeals process is to file a Petition to Review. You must file this within 20 days of the date when the order with the initial decision on your claim was mailed to you. The form that is mailed to you will also contain detailed instructions on how to file the petition. If you do not follow these instructions, you could lose your right to appeal.

You can find the petition form online, or you can obtain a copy from the Office of Administrative Courts. Once completed, you can mail it to the location indicated on your order. You must also mail a copy to your employer’s insurance company.

When you file your Petition to Review, you must also submit transcripts of your original workers’ compensation hearing. To do this, your attorney at The Sawaya Law Firm can request a copy from the court reporter that transcribed the hearing. You can even file a Petition to Review and Transcript Request form to complete both tasks at once.

Writing Arguments

After submitting your Petition to Review, the next step in the appeals process is to prepare your brief. Your brief is the written legal arguments that you will use to fight the administrative law judge’s decision. Within your brief, you will also state your arguments for receiving workers’ compensation.

The courts will send you a letter stating when these briefs must be filed. You are given only 20 days to file your brief. The other party also has an opportunity to prepare a brief and must do so within 20 days. The other party’s 20 days begin with the date on the certificate of mailing your brief.

Briefs are not easy to prepare. You must specifically outline why you disagree with the administrative law judge and why you deserve workers’ compensation benefits. The brief must also contain legal arguments for receiving benefits.

For this reason, it is important that you work with a skilled and knowledgeable Colorado workers’ compensation attorney at The Sawaya Law Firm. An attorney from our law firm will prepare your brief for you and do more than that. A lawyer will also ensure that you meet all timelines to perfect your claim and follow all procedural rules.

Administrative Law Judge’s Decision

Once both parties have filed their briefs, an administrative law judge will review them. The judge will weigh the arguments each side has made and make a decision. The judge must make this decision within 30 days of receiving the last brief. If the judge fails to do so, the case goes to the Industrial Claim Appeals Panel.

After it receives your case, the Panel will review the briefs submitted by both sides and the decision of the administrative law judge. Based on this information, the Panel will make a decision on your case. The Panel has a deadline as well. It has 60 days from the date it receives your case to make a decision.

The Panel does not conduct hearings. So, you will not appear in front of the Panel to argue your case. The other side will not, either. Instead, the Panel will focus solely on the evidence and arguments. Once the Panel reaches a decision, it will mail a copy of that decision to all parties.

If the Panel does not mail you a decision within 60 days of receiving your case, you can take your claim to the Colorado Court of Appeals. You can also petition the Court of Appeals if you disagree with the Panel’s decision. If you take your case to the Court of Appeals, the Court will not consider any evidence, documents or facts that were not initially put before the original administrative law judge.

The Court of Appeals has its own procedures and specific forms that you must fill out when you appeal a workers’ compensation decision. This process is often complex and long. This is another reason why you will benefit from the representation of a workers’ compensation attorney from The Sawaya Law Firm.

If you don’t win your appeal with the Colorado Court of Appeals, you can take one more step in the appeals process. You can file your case with the Colorado Supreme Court. However, this is the highest court in the state. As such, it has a crowded docket and does not hear every case. The Supreme Court has discretion whether to hear your case.

Our Colorado Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help with Your Appeal

Workers’ compensation claims in Colorado can be complex and frustrating to pursue, particularly when you should be focused on recovering from your injuries. If you have been seriously injured in a workplace accident, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. The Sawaya Law Firm is here to help you.

If you were denied the workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve, you can appeal the decision. But you don’t want to go through the appeals process on your own. We can bring more than 40 years of experience to your case and a commitment to aggressively pursuing all benefits that you are entitled to receive. Contact us today and learn more in a free consultation through our offices in Denver, Greeley or Colorado Springs.


Michael established The Sawaya Law Firm in 1977 and built it into one of the largest personal injury law firms in Colorado, with more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members serving clients from five offices located in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs. Throughout its history, the firm has stayed true to its 12 Core Values, which emphasize excellence in advocacy and a commitment to providing outstanding client service. Michael studied sociology and economics as an undergraduate student at The Colorado College, and he earned his law degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law. In addition to being involved in several legal and community organizations, Michael enjoys playing music and cooking, and he has written a book on spiritual matters.