If you’re dealing with a work-related injury or illness, you may be thinking whether to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer or handle your case yourself. 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.
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:
> 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.
> Your injury had little to no effect on your 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 isn’t paying your benefits promptly or flatly denies responsibility.
In most cases, employers and their insurers reject workers’ compensation claims in the belief that workers’ will not bother to appeal. Regrettably, they’re generally right. There’s no need to pay a workers’ comp attorney anything upfront, and your chances of getting a fair settlement or award is highest.
> Your employer offers settlement that only partially covers your lost wages or medical bills.
If you’re not sure whether the settlement offer you got is fair enough, don’t just trust the compensation judge blindly. 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 focus on getting you the best results possible, a lawyer is your best bet.
> Your medical condition has made you completely unable to perform your previous work, or partially to a significant extent.
As compensation for lost wages, you may be entitled to once-a-week payments or one lump sum payment, if you have been partially or totally and permanently disabled by your injury. These cases are normally very expensive for insurers, and they will exhaust all means to avoid paying you what you deserve. A reputable workers’ comp lawyer will give you a good fight.
> You want to get or are already receiving 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.
These are just a few scenarios that make hiring a workers’ comp lawyer necessary. To be safe, don’t be afraid to consult one and discuss the possibilities pertaining to your particular case.