After suffering an injury or sickness on the job, many people question if they require the assistance of an attorney to receive workers’ compensation. To which the best response is always “It depends.”
Sattiraju & Tharney state that if you’ve had a small injury, get along well with your boss, and are comfortable with the process, you may not require a lawyer to manage your workers’ compensation claim.
However, you should seek the counsel of an expert workers’ compensation attorney to advocate for your rights if you have suffered a significant accident or sickness and your employer is disputing your eligibility for benefits.
Do You Feel Comfortable Acting As Your Lawyer?
Workers representing themselves in compensation cases may do so in particular circumstances. It is necessary for the following to hold for it to be the case:
- You probably sprained your ankle, tore a muscle, or cut yourself.
- You probably didn’t miss out on too much actual labor (if any)
- Your company recognizes that your illness or injury resulted from your employment.
- You did not suffer a similar injury or illness in the past.
You may be able to navigate the workers’ compensation process without the assistance of a lawyer if all of the conditions mentioned above are met in your case. Even so, contacting a workers’ compensation attorney who provides free initial consultations is wise. The attorney can brief you on the procedure and address any concerns.
How Do You Know When It’s Time To Call An Attorney?
Although it may seem like your workers’ compensation case is uncomplicated, it is still a good idea to consult with a lawyer who handles these cases for free.
In addition, if you notice anything that could make your workers’ compensation case more complicated, you should seek a legal professional’s assistance. Some examples of problems that can arise with workers’ compensation claims are:
- Your claim for workers’ compensation benefits was refused because your employer disagrees with your assessment that the injury or sickness occurred while performing job-related duties.
- You receive a settlement offer, but it doesn’t cover all of your expenses.
- If you’ve been out of work due to an illness or injury, you probably won’t be able to return.
- You are currently receiving or want to begin receiving Social Security Disability Insurance.
- Your accident was not your fault; rather, it was the fault of a third party or a fellow employee, such as a careless motorist who rear-ended your company car.
You think that you have been discriminated against or punished at your place of employment due to filing a claim for workers’ compensation.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Are Sought Out For What Reasons?
Sadly, workers’ compensation claims are frequently wrongly denied by employers or their insurers. Most claimants for workers’ compensation use legal representation to ensure they receive full benefits.
Because the Workman’s Comp Research Institute was interested in obtaining additional information regarding the factors that led injured workers to retain legal representation, they surveyed 6,823 injured workers.
Surprisingly, 71% of those who had a workers’ compensation lawsuit did not end up hiring legal representation. Most of those who did retain legal representation for their workers’ compensation claim stated that they did so because they felt they were in danger, either at the hands of their employer or at the hands of the workers’ compensation system as a whole.
Almost half of the respondents (46%) stated they retained legal counsel after being led to believe their claims had been refused when, in fact, they had not even been submitted to the system.
According to the survey, wounded workers were more likely to hire attorneys if their injuries were particularly severe, if their employer was large, if they had worked there for a long time, or if they were older than the average worker.
What Services Do They Provide For Workers?
If you’re considering hiring an attorney to help you with your workers’ compensation case, you might be curious about what you anticipate from them. Worker’s compensation lawyers typically help their clients with the following:
- Check that the right paperwork is submitted on time.
- Represent you in dealing with the insurance company
- Collect any relevant medical records that can back up your case.
- Have a reasonable settlement negotiated with the insurer.
- Put your rights in writing by drafting a settlement agreement.
- Represent you in court if that becomes necessary.
In more complex instances, or cases involving catastrophic injuries or illnesses, it can be exceedingly difficult for individuals to navigate the workers’ compensation system independently. Workers’ compensation lawyers help their clients and advocate on their behalf to ensure they receive just compensation.