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Workers' Compensation Appeal Process

Guide for Employees (PDF)

Guia Para Trabajadores (PDF)

Employer's Guide (PDF)

Guía Para el Empleador (PDF)

You may also wish to go the website of the Office of Administrative Courts if you have additional questions regarding Workers' Compensation hearings or ALJ decisions.

How to File an Appeal of an ALJ's Decision

Step One: File a Petition for Review

If you feel the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) did not make the right decision based upon the law and the facts of your case, you must file a Petition to Review. The order mailed to you provides information on how to file the petition. If you do not follow those exact instructions within the correct number of days given to you, your petition can be dismissed, and the Administrative Law Judge's decision is final. Contact the Office of Administrative Courts docket section at (303) 764-1400 for questions and information regarding appeals.
You must file a Petition to Review WITHIN 20 DAYS from the date the order is mailed to you. This time limit is very important: If you do not file a Petition to Review on time, you may lose the right to appeal. You may obtain a copy of the Petition to Review form (PDF) online, or from the Office of Administrative Courts.
File the Petition to Review at the place listed on the order you received, and mail a copy to the insurance company's attorney or the employer if there is no insurance company or attorney.
In most cases, you will need to rely on transcripts of hearings for the Petition to Review. You must request a copy of the written transcript(s) of the hearing(s). To do this, you must contact the court reporter and order the transcript(s) at the time you file your Petition to Review. There is also a transcript order form (PDF) available, which you may access online, or a combined Petition to Review and Transcript Request form (PDF). You must pay the court reporter for the transcript. If you are unable to pay for preparation of a transcript, you may request that the Division of Workers' Compensation pay for it, and you will be required to complete an application for consideration by the Division Director.

Step Two: Your Brief  / Written Argument

After a Petition to Review has been filed, a transcript of the hearing(s) will be prepared if a transcript has been requested and paid for by the petition party. Questions regarding the time required for preparing a transcript should be addressed to the individual court reporter involved.

Once the transcript is prepared (or if no transcript is ordered or paid for), a letter will be sent to the parties setting time limits for filing briefs. If you have an attorney, a copy of this letter will not be sent to you, but will be sent to your attorney. The appealing party is given 20 days to file a brief in support of the petition. A brief is a detailed written statement of why you object to the order that the Administrative Law Judge made and what evidence supports your position.
Once the brief is filed (or the time for filing a brief has expired), the opposing party has twenty days to file a response brief. The 20 days begin with the date on the certificate of mailing of the appealing party's brief.

Step Three: The Decision

When the response brief is filed, or the time for filing a response brief has expired, the Administrative Law Judge may write another decision within 30 days based on your petition, or if the ALJ does not issue another order in 30 days, your file will be sent to the Industrial Claim Appeals Panel for review.
The Industrial Claim Appeals Panel will review your case and the Administrative Law Judge's order and make its decision. The Panel has 60 days from the date it receives your file to do this. The Panel does not conduct hearings, rather its decision is based on the evidence presented at the hearing and any briefs submitted by the parties. A written copy of the Panel's decision will be mailed to all parties.
If you disagree with a Final Order issued by the Industrial Claim Appeals Panel, you may appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals within 21 days. You may also file an appeal with the Colorado Court of Appeals if the Industrial Claim Appeals Panel fails to issue a decision within 60 days from the date the file is received. However, the Court of Appeals ordinarily cannot change any of the ALJ's factual findings, nor can it consider any facts or documents that were not part of the record before the ALJ.
The Court has a number of procedures you must follow if you wish to file an appeal, and a specific form for appeals of Workers' Compensation cases. You may access those forms and procedures online.
If you have questions about how to file an appeal with the Court of Appeals, you may contact the Court at (720) 625-5150.

Contact Us

Industrial Claim Appeals Office | 303-318-8133 | Fax 303-318-8139