If an injury happens on the job, is it necessary to hire a workers’ comp lawyer? It depends. Sometimes it is a good idea to hire a lawyer when dealing with a workers compensation claim. When you are hurt on the job and you have concerns about what to do next, finding an experienced lawyer to talk about your situation is essential, especially for serious injuries. However, each situation varies because it depends on how the employer handles it. The following signs can help determine if you should hire an attorney.
Denial by your employer or insurance:
Sometimes when an injury happens on the job and goes unreported, an employer or the insurance company may think the injury didn’t happen at work. Furthermore, working aggravates the injury more leading the employer or insurance carrier to say it didn’t happen on the job. The same effect happens when an employee gets a disease as a result of being exposed to certain elements long-term.
Your workers’ compensation claim is being processed too slowly:
When an injury occurs on the job, you should notify your employer immediately to begin the report. Your employer is required to provide paperwork that is presented to the workers’ comp board for your state. A claim is also filed with the insurance company. Deadlines vary by state, but the process should be reviewed and completed within 30 days.
The extent of your injury could prevent you from returning to work:
Claims with injuries that lead to partial or total permanent disability are more likely to be challenged by the insurance company due to higher costs.
The insurance won’t cover what your doctor recommends:
If your doctor recommends rehabilitation or other specific treatment, it is common for insurance companies to deny paying for it, especially if they feel such treatment is unnecessary.
Your claim was denied by insurance:
If you filed a claim yourself that you feel is legitimate and you want to appeal the decision, it may be in your best interest to hire an attorney. The situation can become more complicated when there is disagreement, and you may benefit from expert legal advice.
The workers’ compensation settlement does not cover what was lost:
Many settlements include disability benefits if you obtained an injury causing permanent damage. The amount of compensation may depend on different factors including doctor recommendations. You may be required to find an independent medical exam by a doctor chosen by the insurance company. In some cases, such reviews lead to receiving lower compensation from the insurance carrier. A workers’ comp lawyer can help you get what you’re entitled to receive.
You had other health problems before the injury:
Insurance companies may blame your injury on your pre-existing condition or say your injury got worse because of it. Working with a workers’ comp attorney can help with presenting essential evidence to prove your injury is from the job.
You are considering filing for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI):
Sometimes SSDI payments can reduce your settlement amount. Working with a workers’ comp attorney can establish a workers compensation settlement that can eliminate or reduce the offset.
- Retaliation from your employer:
Sometimes an employee may avoid filing a workers’ comp claim due to fear of retaliation. An employee may feel like they’re being penalized if they were demoted, fired, or had their hours reduced as a result of filing an injury claim. Working with an attorney may help with proving such actions were unnecessary.
If your injury occurred due to someone else’s negligence:
If your injury was the result of a third party, you may be able to file a workers’ comp lawsuit outside the workers’ comp system.
When You Don’t Need an Attorney for a Work Injury
Sometimes a lawyer isn’t necessary when filing a workers’ comp claim under certain circumstances. If you experience a minor injury that does not need medical attention or have a preexisting condition that was affected by the event causing your new injury, you likely don’t have to hire a lawyer. Your claim can be straightforward if you’re able to keep working after the injury.
Every time you need to file a workers’ comp claim you may not need an attorney. However, you can contact a workers’ comp lawyer to ask about the process and benefits of filing and if your injury entitles you to receive anything.