Have you been injured at your workplace? Are you looking for a way to feed your family while you recover from a workplace injury? If you answer ‘yes' to any of these questions, then its time to hire a workers compensation attorney and below is exactly why you should do it!
As someone who has been working for many years, it is only fair to assume that your family relies on that income. In many cases, your salary may be the sole source of income for your family. A recent Statista study in 2017 revealed that 125.97 million people were full-time employees. That said workers' compensation has been a contentious issue within our society. Most employees who get injured doing their job have no idea what type of claim they are entitled to under the law. That's why hiring a workers compensation attorney makes so much sense.
Many people are unaware of the process they need to follow to get the compensation they deserve. The inability to file for workers' compensation on time and in the right way causes many to lose their wages. Though they would have received the money if they had they filed a claim on time. So, if you are someone who has sustained an injury in your workplace or owing to the conditions at your place of employment, then it is always a good idea to get in attorney onboard ASAP!
Getting Heard in An Adversarial System with a Workers Compensation Attorney
When you encounter an injury at work, the first thing you have to deal with is an adversarial system consisting of numerous legal hurdles. To begin with, if you decide to represent yourself, you'll be up against an expert lawyer representing the insurance company of your employer. Also, you're up against adjustors and investigators whose sole purpose is to ensure that the insurance company (their employer) does not pay a dime.
As an accident victim, you're already in a great deal of distress both financially because of loss of work but also physical. Many people including yourself may assume that delaying the so-called hassle until you're fit enough to face it is a good strategy. However, it works against you (we've discussed that at length below). You may also be more inclined to reject legal representation if you've had a previous bad experience with for instance a divorce attorney.
When facing a team of highly trained, well-paid experts whose sole goal is to make sure you don't get paid, it's only fair that you get an expert workers compensation attorney of your own. It is a necessary evil to perhaps level the playing field but has and will continue to work for hundreds if not thousands who have received a good amount of money because of their attorneys.
Should You Fight Your Own Case?
Well, it is indeed possible to do it yourself but not advised. However, there are some instances where you can do it yourself but only if the following conditions are met:
- You suffered only a small injury like a cut or sprained ankle
- Your employer admits to it being a workplace injury
- You didn't miss any work as a consequence of the injury
- You don't have a medical history like that of heart attacks, blood pressure issues or some mental illness, etc.
The above list outlines what we define as being straightforward situations, i.e. cut and dry. However, before you decide to do yourself make it a point to contact an attorney. The attorney will walk you through the process and even identify pitfalls along the way. That way you'll know if its something doable.
When Should You Contact a Workers Compensation Attorney?
You will want to contact an attorney as soon as you're injured to prevent any further problems. However, US law states that you have 120 days within which you have to file an injury report with the employer. The timer so to speak starts from the time you're injured or the date. If a notice is not provided to the employer within 21 days, you may not get the benefits until that notice is provided. Again it needs to be within 120 days of the injury, disease or condition. If you fail to give any notice that will mean you've forfeited compensation.
Getting a workers compensation attorney onboard right away will also mean that they (the attorney) will be able to meet formal filing related deadlines. If these deadlines are not met, or the filing is not done properly, it can weaken your legal position. Most workers attorneys don't charge a fee until you win the case. So, you're not required to pay cash upfront to get representation.
|1||You are Injured|
|Within 7 days||Call an Attorney to file a complaint with the employer|
|Within 120 days||File an injury report with the employer. This will be done by your attorney|
Collecting and Submitting Medical Proof
A successful claim relies heavily on how well the medical evidence holds up to scrutiny. So, in addition to meeting form submission deadlines, the attorney knows how to make sure that the medical proof should depict the severity of your injury or condition. Usually, it requires an examination by an independent doctor. However, this doctor shouldn't be associated with insurance companies. If you hire one that is the results will be disastrous, though it is a common mistake that many people and even fresh attorneys may make.
Don't Worry About Being Fired
One of the things you may be worried about is being fired by the employer for filing a claim or hiring a workers' compensation attorney to guard your interests. Many workers have the same concern mainly because employers tend to create a hostile place for those who have been injured on the job. However, legally no employer can fire their employees because they filed for damages owing to an injury on the job. That said you can lose your job for other reasons like for bad performance, bad conduct, sexual harassment, etc.
Those who lose their jobs because they filed for workers compensation can sue their employers under damages sustained under a well-prepared Retaliatory Discharge Lawsuit. Also, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), protects the civil rights of those with disabilities as well as protects injured workers who may be subjected to an employer's negative actions. The law prohibits the discharging of any worker or any other type of negative steps against employees with disabilities or injuries. That's why there are few if any employers who will take the risk of firing a worker who has filed for compensation.
Getting What You Deserve with Expert Help
Each time you file a claim with your employer, it is the insurance company that covers the cost. The goal of every business including insurance companies is to increase profits, and so the less they pay on claims, the better their profit margins. That's why you need to be careful what you say to insurance company adjustors as those statements will be used in the court to try and minimize what you get. Adjustors are trained to try and take advantage of workers who they know have no experience determining the fair value of what they are claiming.
Hiring a workers compensation attorney is a no-brainer as most work on a 100% contingent upon recovery basis, so you don't lose anything. However, the attorney knows that the only way they are getting paid is if you are compensated fairly. Don't make the mistake that many people make by trying to do it themselves only to find out later that they are in over their heads. That said depending on what mistakes they have made it can reduce their chances of receiving fair compensation. So, always make sure that you're well represented from day 1!
The sooner you hire a workers compensation attorney, the sooner you can start getting your compensation. The biggest mistake you can make is to be intimidated by your employer or waste time contemplating your next move. Hiring the attorney will cost you nothing, so it is only fair that you call one ASAP.