When Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
If you suffered an injury at work or became ill because of your workplace and have resulting medical bills, you can file a claim for compensation. With only a few exceptions, employers have workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits for employees in these situations.
In many cases, filing for workers’ compensation is simple. You notify your employer, fill out the right paperwork, submit it to the insurance company, and wait for an offer of benefits. Some situations are more complicated and require a workers’ compensation lawyer:
- The insurance company denies your claim and you have a hearing for an appeal.
- Your employer disputes you are eligible for benefits, claiming your injury occurred elsewhere.
- The insurance company disputes the permanent disability rating assigned by your doctor, limiting your benefits as a result.
- You have a preexisting condition that complicates your claim and the ability to prove your current injury resulted from working conditions.
- You can’t work to the same degree because of the incident, or you cannot work at all.
- The insurance company has restricted or delayed your access to medical treatments or procedures.
- You have government benefits that may get reduced with a workers’ compensation claim.
How Will a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help Me?
Getting hurt on the job is a big deal, mostly because it leaves you with expenses and lost wages. To make sure you get the benefits to which you are entitled and maximize those benefits, rely on a lawyer specializing in workers’ compensation cases. They can do several things for you:
- Make an appeal.
If your claim is denied by the insurance company, you can appeal. You will have to go through a hearing and present evidence, which a lawyer can do for you.
- Find and give evidence.
You know you got hurt on the job, but proving it in front of a judge or workers’ compensation board is not always simple. A lawyer knows what to look for and the evidence needed to prove you deserve benefits.
- Maximize benefits.
A lawyer with experience in these cases knows everything to which you are entitled. They will find the expenses you may have overlooked and get you the maximum benefits. This includes reducing how much those benefits get reduced due to other government benefits you already receive.
- Expedite treatment.
Insurance companies try to cut costs wherever possible, which means they may deny or delay approval for costly medical treatments that you need. A lawyer can push them to approve those treatments sooner, so you get good, timely care.
How Do I Find the Right Lawyer?
It’s absolutely essential that you find a lawyer specializing in workers’ compensation cases. You need an attorney or a firm that has experience working with employers and negotiating with insurance companies. They must know the laws that govern these cases.
You may be able to find a lawyer through a referral. Ask coworkers who may have had to work with a lawyer previously. Contact your union for a referral. Or, check with your state bar association for a list of workers’ compensation specialists.
Questions to Ask a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
As you search for the right lawyer to help with your workers’ compensation claim, create a list of questions to ask. You do not have to settle for the first firm that offers a free consultation. Ask questions and get the answers you need before making a decision.
- What will you do to help me get benefits?
- Have you worked with clients in a similar situation to mine?
- Will you be handling my case, or will it be someone else in the office?
- What do you think my chances are of getting benefits?
- How much do you think I can get?
- What are your fees and how does payment work?
Partnering with Your Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Once you have a lawyer you trust on your side, work with them to increase your chances of success with a workers’ compensation claim. Your lawyer will do much of the legwork, but you have a role to play as well. Most importantly, you must provide them with the information they need to advocate for you:
- The workplace incident or injury report
- Your workers’ compensation claim and paperwork
- Any communications you have had with your employer and the insurance company
- Your medical bills and records
- Information about time and income lost from not being able to work
- Information about your degree of disability and how your doctor rates it
The more you can provide, the better your lawyer can do their job. You must work together to get a good result. Be open, answer your lawyer’s questions honestly, and provide as much information as possible.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is often simple and quick, but there are a lot of potential complicating factors. Rely on an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure you get the benefits you need and deserve.