When requesting a hearing at the department level, it is imperative that the request be in writing, copied to the opposing party and "shall set forth the reasons for requesting the hearing and the questions in dispute which the applicant expects to be resolved" (RSA 281-A:43, I(a)).
A hearing request should not merely list the sections of the statute for which you request a hearing but explain the basis for the request.
Hearing requests for RSA 281-A:48, Review for Eligibility for Compensation, must include the medical report which provides a work release to the injured employee or a doctor's report indicating that the injured employee is disabled.
Requests for hearings on "Noncooperation with Vocational Rehabilitation", RSA 281-A:25 V, must cite the vocational rehabilitation report which demonstrates the noncooperative behavior or provide a detailed explanation of the circumstances to disclose the nature of the dispute.
A self-represented or pro se injured employee, upon receiving a denial, may call or write to the Department of Labor to request a hearing. Upon receipt of the written request, a Department of Labor claims staff member will contact the carrier who will be asked to clarify the denial. Any reports used to support the denial will be requested, if not already submitted.
All such reports must also be sent to the injured employee, if not already sent. The Department of Labor will then advise the injured employee of his/her rights and expectations at the hearing.
Hearings on prospective treatment and bills are usually not scheduled but unique circumstances may exist that would necessitate the scheduling of such a hearing. Requests for hearings on medical bills, usually from the injured employee's attorneys or the pro se employee, must define the nature of the dispute.
Hearings are usually scheduled 4 to 6 weeks from the date the hearing request is received at the Department of Labor.
If an interpreter is necessary for translation, it is up to the requesting party to provide such at the time of the hearing. However, if an interpreter is needed for a hearing impaired person, the Department of Labor must be advised as it is our responsibility to provide such. For all hearings which require an interpreter for hearing impaired to be present, request for an interpreter should be made to the department as soon as possible. All hearing requests involving interpreters should also request additional time.
Appeals of hearing officers' decisions are heard before the Compensation Appeals Board. This board was established in 1991. Each panel consists of an attorney, a labor representative and a management/insurance representative. The board is administratively attached to the Department of Labor and the members are appointed by the Governor and Council. Appeals are currently scheduled approximately six (6) months from date of request.
An appeal of a Labor Department decision is a de novo appeal. That is, it is a new hearing and new evidence may be submitted. However, no new issues can be added. An exception to this is a consolidated appeal where two separate hearings on the same case have been heard at the Department and the parties or the Department combine the two into a "consolidated" appeal before the Compensation Appeals Board.
Upon receipt of the Department of Labor decision, parties have thirty (30) days from the date of the decision to request an appeal. However, if both parties disagree with the decision there can be cross appeals. For example, the injured employee may have won on the causal aspect of the decision but is not satisfied with the decision on Extent of Disability. The injured employee will appeal. However, if the carrier disagrees with the causal ruling, they too should appeal. In the event that the injured employee should withdraw their appeal, the carrier would still have the option of the appeal on causal. However, the appeal is on all issues heard at the Department of Labor level unless the parties agree to limit the issues.
Some cases are scheduled for a prehearing conference prior to scheduling of an appeal. The cases usually scheduled for prehearing conferences are those that request over three (3) hours, have multiple carriers, request for consolidated appeals, and cases in which motions have been filed such as a "Motion to Dismiss" for late appeal, etc.
Appeal files are maintained separately from Department of Labor hearing files and are assigned a docket number. All evidence submitted for an appeal hearing must reference the docket number otherwise it will not be placed in the file.
New Hampshire Department of Labor |
95 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3176 |
Hours of Operation: 8am - 4:30pm M-F