Hearings and Settlements
A hearing is a formal legal proceeding where an administrative law judge decides what benefits, if any, must be paid, and may decide any other issues. To request a hearing, you must file an Application for Hearing with the OAC using the form located at colorado.gov/oac/oac-form-links.
A prehearing conference is a hearing conducted by an administrative law judge at the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Prehearing conferences are limited to procedural issues such as scheduling of formal hearings and discovery (the exchange of evidence before a hearing). Any party can schedule a prehearing conference. If a prehearing conference is scheduled in your case, you should attend either in person or by telephone.
A settlement conference may be requested by either party, but will not be held unless all parties agree to participate. Both prehearing and settlement conferences can be conducted by telephone. You may settle all or part of your claim with your employer or the insurance company. The settlement involves giving up all or some of your rights to future workers’ compensation benefits in exchange for an agreed-upon amount of money. Settlements are completely voluntary.
No one can force you to settle your claim, nor can anyone require the insurance company to offer you a settlement. A settlement should not be confused with an impairment rating/Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) award. An impairment rating can be awarded based on your physician's final evaluation of your injury. Any settlement must be submitted to the Division of Workers’ Compensation for approval.
Reopening a Claim
You may apply to reopen your claim if you believe you need more medical care and/or temporary disability benefits after your claim was closed. You may do this by filing a Petition to Reopen (WC 37) directly with the insurance company that handled your workers’ compensation claim. If the insurance company refuses to reopen the claim, or does not respond, you may file an Application for Hearing with the OAC.
The request must be filed within six years from the date of your injury or two years from the date the last benefits (temporary, permanent, or dependent) became due and payable, whichever is longer. If these dates are past and you need only further medical care you may apply to reopen your claim at any time within two years of the date the last medical benefits became due and payable. You can only reopen a claim if there has been fraud, an error, a mistake, or a change in your condition has occurred