Work-related injuries can often put your life to a pause. You can hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to help make up for the losses due to the injuries. But you need to have a clear idea about the process before making the decision to hire an attorney.
It’s important to keep in mind as a worker that not all injuries will not require you to hire a work injury lawyer. The whole administrative process of workers’ compensation was made to be simple for the workers. If your employer or his insurance company doesn’t find it necessary to dispute your claim, you might consider handling the claim by yourself.
But in reality, most of the cases of workers’ compensation are complicated, and so it’s highly recommended to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer for those cases. There are even some rare cases where the worker can sue his employer using a personal injury lawyer- like an employer injuring the worker intentionally. Do keep a heads up for these cases too.
Cases When You Don’t Need a Lawyer
Minor injuries won’t require you to hire a lawyer. Insurance companies will also not interfere with such claims. To be more specific, insurance companies won’t dispute your claims in the following situations:
- Obvious work-related injuries
- You were not absent for a long period of time due to the injuries
- There is no permanent harm caused by the injuries
- Injuries that heal quickly and don’t need thorough medical attention
Let’s take a look at an example. You slipped while trying to go down the office staircase. The doctor you consulted prescribed you some drugs and some rest for a week. But you returned to your workplace after a few days since it was a minor injury and your work is not too physically intensive. In this case, the expenses for visiting the doctor will be covered.
Though remember that you cannot expect to get wage-loss benefits. This is the law in most states, especially since you were not absent for a very long period of time.
Cases When You Do Need a Lawyer
Injuries caused by automobiles, lifting heavy things at work, and malfunctioning equipment are dealt with by workers’ compensation lawyers. If you’re in conflict with the insurance company, you should hire a lawyer.
This is because in order to dispute the position of the insurance company, you’ll need to provide evidence. This requires substantial knowledge of the law, which only a skilled lawyer can bring to the table. We’ll discuss some cases below when you should hire a lawyer.
The Insurance Company Has Denied Your Claim
There are multiple reasons why an insurance company might deny your claim for compensation. The two most common reasons which an insurance company might present are:
- You made too much delay in filing your claim
- Your injuries are not related to your work
The workers’ compensation system helps you to make an appeal in this case. Different states have different processes for making the appeal. Some formal paperwork, evidence gathering, and a formal hearing are some of the different steps of this process.
The Insurance Company Disputes Your Permanent Disability Rating
You should know that permanent disability benefits are measured using the permanent disability rating. There can be cases when the insurance company disagrees with the rating assigned by your doctor. In such a situation, you might have to undergo an independent medical examination by another doctor who might assign a lower rating.
This lower rating will be later used by the insurance company to pay you fewer benefits. If you hire a lawyer, you can hope for a fair settlement. He can also take action to convince the judge that you don’t deserve a lower permanent disability rating.
If the workplace injury occurred in a body part that suffers from a pre-existing condition or a previous injury, the insurance company would try their best to cite that previous condition as the cause of your current injury. Hiring a lawyer is absolutely necessary in such a case because these cases are usually complicated.
You Have Difficulties in Receiving the Necessary Treatment
Insurance companies will try to avoid approving costly treatments. They might even try to delay the approval. A lawyer can help in this situation by pressurizing the insurance company for approval without any delays.
The billing method and the charge depend on the individual lawyer. Some may charge you on an hourly basis, while others will take the contingency approach.
It means that you won’t be charged if you lose the case. But if you win it, a percentage of 10-40% will be taken by the lawyer. Don’t hesitate to ask your lawyer beforehand about the charges.
What Expectations Should You Keep?
Remember, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll win the case if you hire a lawyer. But a workers’ compensation lawyer can definitely help you a lot to go through the legal procedures in a proper way.
Many businesses will even pay for the damage in installments to settle the issue outside of court. Therefore, if you find that your case requires a lawyer, do hire one to increase your chances of getting the compensation.
It’s important to cooperate with your lawyer in every stage. Feel free to ask him questions, if needed. Also, disclose every bit of necessary information related to the case. The more information your lawyer has, the better chance you have of winning the case.
Also, remember that any legal process will take some time to settle. Keep your patience. Never ignore your lawyer. Listen to your lawyer’s advice. You should follow what he asks you to do and not do. By following all the points outlined in this article, you can work effectively with your lawyer to reach a fruitful settlement.