Do I Need a Workers Comp Lawyer After a Work Injury?
Not every injury sustained on the job will require the services of an attorney. However, if you have a clear-cut claim that your employer or its company is not disputing then you may be able to take care of your own claim. Regrettably, the process is not usually that clear-cut. There are times however, when workers will need to reach out to a Ramos Law Firm worker’s compensation attorney.
When You Don’t Need a Lawyer
Any minor injuries incurred at work that heals completely after treatment will not require the services of an attorney. Usually, insurance companies don’t refute the following claims:
- Injuries that obviously occurred on the job
- Injuries that requiring minimal medical treatment
- Injuries that do not cause prolonged time off from work
- Injuries that are not permanent
When You Need an Attorney
Whenever there is a dispute between you and an insurance company, you need to hire a lawyer. You need the expertise of an attorney to challenge the insurance company especially for the purposes of collecting evidence, taking depositions, acquiring independent medical examination and obtaining expert witnesses.
Let’s look at some instances when you really need the expertise of a lawyer.
- Refuting your claim: There are several reasons why insurance companies will refute workers’ compensation claims. For example, they’ll suggest that you never got injured on the job or that is was late when you filed for your claim. The workers’ compensation system allows you to appeal this denial. The process of appeal differs across different states but it usually involves completing paperwork, using legal means to collect evidence and submit your case at a hearing.
- Questioning your permanent disability rating: Permanent disability benefits are calculated according to your permanent disability rating. When the insurance company is not in agreement with the rating given by your doctor, it can choose a doctor and ask you to do an independent medical examination (IME). The disability rating assigned by the IME doctor is usually much lower, and the insurance company will use this rating as a reason to pay you less. If you hire a lawyer, he/she will be able to convince a judge of your right to a higher rating.
- You have a former injury: Any former injury relating to the same body part you got injured at work will be used against you by the insurance company. Most likely, the insurance company will say the current injury is caused by the previous one and so is not work related. Read here for more information.
- Inability to get the needed treatment: Insurance companies usually deny, or delay approving medical treatments that are costly, for example, surgery. A lawyer has the expertise to get the insurance company to sanction the necessary medical treatments.
- Inability to work: If you will not be able to work again, you need to make the most of your workers’ comp benefits so they will continue to sustain you in the future. If a new career is necessary then training will be necessary. Hiring an attorney will help you in both cases.
- You’re a recipient of other government settlements: If you’re the recipient of workers’ compensation benefits, it will cause a reduction in your Social Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. A lawyer can help in the amount of reduced SSDI benefits you’ll receive. Also, if you’re qualified for Medicare, you’ll probably need to assign a part of your comp payments for medical treatments in the future. A lawyer will help you achieve this. See this URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_injury_lawyer
- Workers’ Comp Hearing: You will definitely need a lawyer to speak for you at a hearing if the insurance company is refusing to settle or is making minimal offers.
Are Lawyers’ fees affordable?
Workers’ compensation lawyers charge contingency fee not the usual hourly costs like other attorneys. This contingency fee is a percentage of the workers’ comp benefits you have received. In some states, the percentage is usually from 15 to 25 per cent. However, depending on the state, the fee may be a low 10 per cent or a high 33 per cent.
Hiring a comp lawyer will maximize your chances of getting the best settlement offer. Since attorneys have the expertise to understand and interpret the law, they are better able negotiate and build up your case to your advantage. Hiring one will leave you with more benefits even after taking his/her fees.