Do I Need an Attorney at Law for my Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The workers’ compensation claims process is not always straightforward and employers are not always compliant or eager to agree to pay benefits. If the situation becomes contentious and complicated, you should speak to an experienced workers’ comp lawyer to discuss your legal options.
You May Not Need a Lawyer
An employee does not need a lawyer in every single instance of a workplace injury. For example, if you suffer a relatively minor injury that heals within a few days (e.g., a cut on your hand), then you probably do not need the services of a lawyer. Additionally, there are some instances in which an insurance company may not dispute or challenge your benefits claim. Here are some examples:
- Injuries that are clearly related to the workplace.
- Injuries that do not result in permanent disabilities.
- Injuries that do not need extensive medical treatment.
- Injuries that will not result in long periods off from work.
For instance, if you sprained your ankle in a work accident, and your doctor recommended you put ice on your ankle, take pain relievers and rest a little. After two days, you feel perfectly fine. If you are working a desk job and you soon commence work, there is a good chance you can get a workers’ comp claim resolved without the services of an attorney.
When You Will Likely Need a Workers’ Comp Lawyer
If your workers’ compensation degenerates into a dispute with your employer’s insurer, then you need to hire a lawyer. Disputes are going to involve things like depositions, gathering evidence, organizing an independent medical examination, and getting expert witnesses. These things require legal skill and experience, which a lawyer readily provides.
The following are instances in which it is best for you to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer:
Your Claim is Denied
There are many reasons why insurance companies choose to deny workers’ compensation claims. They can allege that the injury is not work-related or that you did not file your claim at the right time.
You can appeal this denial through the provisions of the workers’ compensation system. This process involves filing formal paperwork, gathering evidence with legal tools, and presenting your case before a hearing. These requirements are complex legal issues, and a lawyer will be quite invaluable.
There is a Dispute of Your Personal Disability Rating
Many workers’ compensation disputes are centered around permanent disability benefits. This is usually based on a permanent disability rating that a doctor gives you. It is on a scale of 1 to 100, and the higher it is, the higher your compensation will be.
If your employer is not satisfied with the disability rating, it can request that you undergo an independent medical examination by its own doctor. This preferred doctor is likely to reduce your disability rating and the insurer can use that as a justification for paying less. When this happens, a lawyer would be quite valuable in helping you get a fair settlement and convincing a judge that you deserve a higher compensation.
You Have a Pre-Existing Condition
If you have a pre-existing condition on the body part that sustained the injury, then you have to be ready to slug it out with the insurance company. The insurer can claim that the injury resulted from the preexisting condition and not a workplace incident.
Things get more complicated where the injury is one that develops slowly over time. In complicated issues like this, getting a lawyer who can clearly articulate your case is quite essential.
You have Trouble Getting the Right Treatment
Insurance companies are usually reluctant to approve expensive treatments like surgery. As a result, they delay and might not even approve the treatment. With a workers’ compensation lawyer, you have someone who can apply pressure on the insurance company to approve your treatment promptly.
There is a Reduction in Your Future Ability to Work
If the injury prevents you from working in future, then you need to structure your compensation benefits in a way that will leave you well off in the long term. With the help of a lawyer, you can easily accomplish this.
You are Receiving Other Government Benefits
If you are receiving existing government benefits, the amount for the existing benefits or your workers’ compensation would have to reduce. With a lawyer, you can reduce a little amount of your multiple benefits.
If you qualify for Medicare, you would need to set aside a portion of your compensation benefits for future treatment. With a lawyer, you will be able to structure this in a way that will benefit you.
You Have to Attend a Workers’ Comp Hearing
In a situation in which the insurance company refuses to settle or is making low offers, then you would have to go for a hearing. Since this is usually like a mini-trial, the services of a lawyer will be quite essential.
Is Getting a Lawyer Worth It?
Workers’ compensation lawyers typically do not charge you on an hourly basis. Rather, they operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that they only get paid from a percentage of the sum they are able to help you recover.
Workers’ Comp Lawyer Ready to Assist
If you were injured while on the job, contact the experienced and skilled workers’ compensation attorneys at The Law Offices of Craig A. Altman today to schedule an in-person consultation. Call today at 856-327-8899 or fill out a quick contact form so a member of our legal team can connect with you.