If you’ve suffered a work-related injury or illness, you might ask yourself if you need to hire a workers comp lawyer. You may also be curious if hiring an attorney is required, what type of help they can offer and how much it will all cost. Since there can be many uncertainties on top of an injury, it can feel overwhelming to file a workers’ compensation claim.
The answer to these questions and curiosities depend on the seriousness of your injury, the entire complexity of your case, and the actions your employer will do or its insurance company. In this article, we’ll be sharing with you some of the questions you might have when considering hiring a workers’ compensation attorney and the answers to them.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation Laws
Not all workers’ compensation laws are the same. The laws are governed by each federal statute and state legislation. Both offer fixed awards to employees or their dependents in the incident of employment-related accidents and illnesses.
These statutorily authorized awards allow the injured worker to obtain compensation without taking legal action against an employer. The several state acts differ with regard to the kind of workers covered, the amount and extent of benefits, and other details.
The objective of most workers’ comp laws is to have the employer strictly responsible for injuries sustained in the course of employment, without consideration to the negligence of the employer or the employee. The injury should emerge in the span and scope of employment to initiate a valid claim, and an employee-employer relationship should be present too.
The Available Benefits of Workers’ Compensation Laws
Workers’ compensation laws allow workers who are injured on the job to be entitled to obtain a number of benefits, depending on the injury. Some of these include:
- Temporary partial disability benefits
- Permanent total disability benefits
- Permanent partial disability benefits
- Wage reimbursement benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits
- Medical benefits
Consider Hiring a Worker’s Compensation Lawyer If:
- Your benefits are experiencing delays or getting denied.
- You already have a pre-existing condition.
- The first doctor you visited has cleared you for work immediately.
- Your employers inform you that you’re not covered by workers’ compensation.
- You don’t know which doctor you need to see.
- Your employer is accusing you of fraud.
- You don’t trust the company doctors.
- You’re developing symptoms slowly over time.
- You were asked to attend an independent medical test.
- You are entitled to Medicare or will be within 30 months.
The goal of the workers’ comp lawyer representing the defendant, which would be the employer or the employer’s insurance company, is to mitigate the defendant’s liability.
The Responsibilities of a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The main goal of a workers’ compensation attorney is to represent the claimant or the injured worker and help him or her acquire the entitled benefits. Here are some of the common job functions and duties of a workers’ compensation lawyer:
- Look and collect medical evidence and medical records
- Acquire depositions of the claimant, medical experts, physicians, and other parties
- Managing discovery
- Conduct legal research
- Remain updated with developments in the law
- Create drafting pleadings, motions, find facts, opinions, motions, brief, and other necessary legal documents.
- Process cases before judge or referee.
Can I Get By Without a Lawyer?
There is a general rule when you are able to represent yourself if only the following statements that will be mentioned are true:
- You got hurt from a minor workplace injury, like getting your ankle twisted or a cut that needs some stitching.
- Your employer claims that the injury happened at work.
- You missed some or no work due to your injury.
- You don’t suffer from any pre-existing condition that affects the similar part of your body that went under the recent workplace injury (for instance, an old back injury from a vehicle accident or before you slipped and harmed your back on the job).
But given all of these uncomplicated situations, it’s still recommended that you contact a workers’ compensation attorney for a free consultation about your case. Having a lawyer that can walk and guide you through the process, inform you about the possible pitfalls, and provide you with a realistic appraisal of whether you can deal with the case on your own is for your own relief and advantage.
What Your Workers’ Compensation Will Do for You
Aside from ensuring that you are able to file all the necessary documents and forms, meet the deadlines, having a great and credible attorney will know how to collect and find the evidence required to support your case, negotiate successfully with the insurance company, and write a settlement agreement to prevent any unexpected consequences. If you, your employer, and the insurance company don’t end up agreeing on a good settlement, a lawyer can prepare for that problem and represent you at the hearing or trial.