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Office of Worker's Compensation Hearings

You are entitled to worker's compensation benefits if you are injured on the job or become ill as a result of the job. You, your employer and the worker's compensation insurance carrier have various responsibilities relating to a worker's compensation claim.

The worker's compensation program in Wisconsin is managed by the Department of Workforce Development. You may find information about the program, including coverage, responsibilities and how to file a claim at the Department's web site.

  • Tell your supervisor that you are hurt immediately, even if you think your injury is minor and will heal without medical attention.
  • Obtain any necessary medical attention. This may include first aid, a doctor visit or an emergency room visit.
  • Maintain all relevant medical and payment records for possible future use.


When a claim is denied
Requesting a Hearing

A hearing may be necessary to resolve a disputed claim. Most hearings are set after an employee, surviving spouse or dependant files an application for hearing (WKC-7). You may order the Hearing Application form on-line or by calling (608) 266-1340. Please provide your complete mailing address. Some hearings are also scheduled on the Division's own motion in situations where there is reason to believe payment of compensation has not been made.

Hearings are scheduled at various locations throughout the state. The geographical location for the hearing is determined by the location of the employee's residence, where the injury occurred and the location of the employee's treating practitioner. After a hearing date is set, all parties are notified by a written notice. The notice of hearing is usually mailed to the parties eight to ten weeks in advance, but hearings may be scheduled with as little as ten days' notice.

The Hearing

Formal hearings are held with an ALJ. These are semi-judicial proceedings. Witnesses are sworn in before testifying as in a court room. The parties have a right to present their own witnesses and cross-examine witnesses presented by other parties. Exhibits of documents and reports are entered into the formal hearing record. A court reporter records all testimony. After a hearing, the claim may be paid in full or in part, or the claim may be denied and the application dismissed.

All parties should be aware of the following in preparing for a hearing:

  • As soon as possible after the notice of hearing is received contact necessary witnesses and arrange to have them attend the hearing.
  • The Division may not receive evidence about an employee's loss of earning capacity unless notice of the intention to present this evidence and the name of the expert witness is given at least 60 days before the hearing.
  • Employees must file with the Division and the insurance carrier's attorney certified medical reports (WKC-16B) and a medical treatment statement (WKC-3) at least 15 days before the hearing.
  • The employee has the burden to present evidence of facts necessary to establish compensability of the claim in all cases including those in which the hearing was scheduled on the Division's own motion.
  • Postponement must be submitted in writing to the Division within seven days after the notice was issued with copies to all other parties.
  • Postponements will be approved by the Division because of extraordinary circumstances and will not be allowed for the convenience of the parties.
  • Failure to appear at a hearing as scheduled may result in a dismissal of the application or a decision by default.
After the Hearing

The ALJ will gather all the facts at the hearing. After the hearing the ALJ will issue an order (decision) that either allows or denies the claim. If the claim is allowed, an order will be issued stating the amount of disability and how much compensation and/or medical expense is to be paid.

Appealing the Order

Any party has the right to appeal an ALJ order. If a party wishes to appeal an order, a Petition for Commission Review (WKC-28) must be filed within 21 days of the mailing date of the ALJ order. On this form the appealing party states the points of disagreement with the order. The Labor Industry Review Commission (LIRC) will review the hearing record. LIRC can affirm, reverse, modify, or set aside the ALJ order. All parties will receive a copy of the LIRC decision. Any party may also appeal the LIRC decision to the Circuit Court, Court of Appeals and, ultimately, the Wisconsin Supreme Court.