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Contest by the Employer (C04)

[Cross Reference. Jurisdiction (P03)]

An employer has the right to attend and present evidence at proceedings relating to an employee's claim.  But an employer may become a party in the DWC dispute resolution process and contest the compensability of an IE's injury only if the IC "accepts liability for the payment of benefits." TLC Section 409.011(b)(4); APD 032473.

Employer Time Limit to Contest.

The employer does not have a specific time limit for contesting the injury, but must use "reasonable diligence" in its investigation. APD 92280.

Timely Contest Found.

The IC chose not to dispute the compensability of the IE's claimed injury and accepted liability. The employer contested compensability with DWC less than two weeks after the IC's sixty-day period had expired. The ALJ found that "reasonable diligence" had been used by the employer. The AP affirmed. APD 92280.

Untimely Contest Found.

"Reasonable diligence" was not found when an employer did not contest the claim for nine months after a BRC where the IC accepted liability for the injury. APD 991111.

Employer Contest Disallowed for Other Reasons.

The employer may not contest the compensability of the injury when the IC has mistakenly missed the 60-day deadline to contest the compensability of the claim. Simplex Electric Corp., v. Holcomb, 949 S.W.2d 446 (Tex. Civ. App.-Austin 1997 pet. denied).

Employer's Right to Appeal.

Although the right to appear and offer evidence is sufficient to make the employer a participant at the CCH, the employer does not gain the status of a party unless the IC has accepted liability for the claim and it is the employer that contests compensability. APD 92479. If an employer is not a party at the CCH it does not have the right to appeal the ALJ's decision, and any appeal filed by a non-party employer will be dismissed by the AP for lack of standing. APD 92110; APD 041239; and APD 190148.

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