If you have a work-related illness or injury, you may be wondering if hiring a workers’ compensation attorney is a smart move. There are many factors involved, such as the extent of your condition, the overall circumstances that led to it, and the behavior of your employer or its insurance company.
In general, if all of the following apply to your case, you may be able to get by without a lawyer:
> You had a minor workplace injury (think twisted ankle or a cut that needs a few stitches)
> Your employer acknowledges that your injury was a result of work.
> The injury did not make a significant difference in your ability to work.
> The workplace injury did to aggravate any pre-existing condition you may have.
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 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. Unfortunately, they’re often 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 unsure about a settlement offer being good enough, don’t put your complete trust in the compensation judge in terms of giving you a fair 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 strive to give you the best settlement possible, call a lawyer.
> 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 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. To give a good fight, hire a reputable workers’ comp attorney.
> 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. An experienced lawyer can help you avoid this problem.
These are only a few of the scenarios where a workers’ comp lawyer’s expertise can make or break your case. If you want to be safe, consult one anyway so you can at least get an overview of the possibilities specific to your case.