To Hire or Not to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you have a work-related illness or injury, you may be wondering if hiring a workers’ compensation attorney is a smart move. 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.
Generally speaking, you have a good chance of getting by without an attorney’s help if all of the following are true in your situation:
> Your workplace injury is minor (for example, a small cut or a twisted ankle)
> Your employer acknowledges that the injury occurred in your workplace.
> Your injury had little to no effect on your work.
> The workplace injury had no effect on a pre-existing condition you might have.
On the other hand, the following situations are examples of when it may be necessary to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer:
> Your employer doesn’t pay your benefits properly or does not acknowledge your claim at all.
In most cases, employers and their insurers reject workers’ compensation claims in the belief that workers’ will not bother to appeal. 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 only wants to cover a portion of your medical bills or lost wages instead of all of it.
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. Though workers’ comp settlements must have judicial clearance, judges tend to sign off any agreement that is not conspicuously unjust. If you really want someone who will focus on getting you the best results possible, a lawyer is your best bet.
> Your medical condition has limited your ability to perform your previous job, or have rendered you totally incapable of performing it at all.
If you’ve had a partial or total permanent disability, you could be entitled to weekly payments or a single lump sum payment to compensate for your lost wages. Because cases like these are very expensive for insurance companies, they will do everything in their power not to have to pay what you rightly deserve. A reputable workers’ comp lawyer will give you a good fight.
> You are receiving or planning to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
With an improperly structured settlement, your workers’ comp benefits can significantly drive down your Social Security disability payments. But if you hire an experienced lawyer, this problem can be eliminated or at least minimized.
These are just a few scenarios that make hiring a workers’ comp lawyer necessary. To be safe, don’t hesitate to consult one so you can talk about the possibilities relative to your specific case.