If you have an injury or illness due to work-related reasons, you may be mulling over hiring a workers’ compensation attorney or handling your case alone. The answer depends on a lot of things, mainly the severity of your condition, the general complexity of your case, and your employer’s or its insurer’s actions.
In general, if all of the following apply to your case, you may be able to get by without a lawyer:
> Your workplace injury is minor (for example, a small cut or a twisted ankle)
> Your employer admits that your injury is work-related.
> Your injury had little to no effect on your work.
> You don’t have a pre-existing condition that may have been worsened by the recent work-related injury.
On the other hand, below are a few sample situations where the role of a workers’ compensation attorney becomes crucial:
> Your employer doesn’t pay your benefits right or denies your claim outright.
Employers and workers’ compensation insurers typically reject valid claims, thinking workers won’t push it. And the sad fact is, they’re usually correct. You don’ t have to pay a workers’ comp attorney anything upfront, and you get the best odds of receiving a just award or settlement.
> Your employer agrees to cover only part, not all, of your medical bills or lost wages.
If you’re uncertain about the fairness of a settlement offer, don’t completely rely on the compensation judge to make sure that you get a reasonable deal. Workers’ comp settlements do require judicial approval, but usually, judges will just sign off an agreement if it is not grossly unjust. If you really want someone who will strive to give you the best settlement possible, call a lawyer.
> Your medical issues have significantly reduced your ability to perform your previous work, or made you totally incapable of performing any work at all.
If you’ve suffered a total or partial permanent injury, you can get a lump sum payment or weekly payments to cover your lost wages. These cases can be very costly for insurance providers, and they will do everything to prevent them from giving you what you deserve. A reputable workers’ comp lawyer will give you a good fight.
> You are receiving or planning to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
If your workers’ comp settlement is not properly structures, you could end up with considerably lower Social Security disability payments. But if you hire an experienced lawyer, this problem can be eliminated or at least minimized.
There can be an unlimited number of scenarios where the help of a workers’ comp lawyer is critical. To be safe, don’t hesitate to consult one so you can talk about the possibilities relative to your specific case.