Filing an appeal to Superior Court from a BIIA decision

When filing an appeal to Superior Court from a decision and order from the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, it is always best to have an attorney. However, there are some basic things to understand that may assist you in your conversations with your attorney. RCW 51.52.110 instructs on what is to be done. Appeals are taken to Superior Court by parties when they disagree with the decision of the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals. The time limit for filing an appeal to Superior Court is 30 days of the decision of the Board. The appeal must be filed in the Superior Court of the county of residence of the injured worker, or the county in which the injury occurred, or if either of these counties is not in the State of Washington, then the appeal is filed in Thurston county Superior Court. The appeal is not properly filed, or perfected, unless the notice of appeal is filed by mail, or personally, to the Superior Court, with a copy served upon the Director of the Department of Labor and Industries, and the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals. If the case involves a self-insured employer, a copy must be served upon the self-insurer.

In some cases, the courts have examined the question of improperly filed notices. In most cases, if there has been what the courts have called “substantial compliance” with the service requirement, the courts have been fairly lenient. However, where there is an utter failure to serve one of the entities described above, or the inability to prove attempted compliance that would be sufficiently persuasive to the Court, the appellate courts have been very strict and found that if service is not made or attempted, then the appeal to Superior Court will be dismissed. What constitutes substantial compliance usually involves the attempt to properly serve, with proof of mailing, but failure of an entity or party to receive the notice. As a practical matter, it is always best to strictly comply with the statute and confirm that all of the entities and parties have received the notice of appeal within the 30 day period.