33431,"why do i need a workers comp lawyer ?"

by Delpha Breitenberg 8 min read

A knowledgeable workers' comp attorney is essential in cases involving permanent injuries or illness. You receive or plan to apply for Social Security disability benefits. If your settlement isn't structured properly, your workers' comp benefits could significantly lower Social Security disability payments.

Full Answer

Do I need an attorney to file a workers'compensation claim?

You'll probably need an attorney to handle your claim if you suffered a serious injury—especially one that requires surgery—or your work caused a chronic condition like a repetitive stress injury (RSI) or an occupational illness.

Can I represent myself in a Workers Comp case for free?

Free Consultation. Although you always have the right to represent yourself in your workers’ comp case, in many situations, it makes sense to hire a lawyer. Fortunately, hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer is affordable. This is because workers’ comp attorneys work on a contingency fee basis (by taking a percentage of your settlement or award).

Can I file a workers comp lawsuit outside of my employer?

If you have a third-party claim – You can go outside the workers comp system and file a workers comp lawsuit if someone other than your employer contributed to your injury. For instance, if a negligent driver hits you while you are driving for work, you can sue that person for damages.

How to get an expert opinion on a workers comp claim?

Or, you can ask an attorney for their expert opinion with a free consultation. Contact an Attorney More About Lawyers Lawyer When to Hire a Workers Comp Lawyer Get a Free Claim Evaluation


How long does it take to get a partial disability settlement?

You will have two years from the last settlement check within which you can reopen your case if your condition worsens. It generally takes about a year to get to settlement once you complete treatment. If you do NOT file an Employee’s Claim Petition, your claim will close two years from the last date of treatment or the last payment of weekly benefits, whichever is later. If you do file a claim you will have two years from the last settlement check to reopen you claim if your condition worsens (in most cases). The settlement process extends the statue of limitations to reopen in most cases.

Can you get workers compensation if you aggravate a prior condition?

The workers’ compensation carriers often tell injured workers that if they aggravated a prior condition at work their injury is not considered covered under the workers’ compensation law. This is completely false. With the help of a workers’ compensation lawyer you can fight this denial of benefits and get what you are entitled to under the law.

How to appeal workers comp claim?

However, the appeals process can be complicated. It involves tight deadlines, formal paperwork, and detailed knowledge of substantive and procedural rules . An experienced workers' comp attorney can help you present your case in the most convincing light possible, by helping you prepare for the workers' comp hearing, highlighting the strengths of your case with supporting evidence, and questioning witnesses effectively. A lawyer can also ensure that you don’t lose your case on a technicality because you failed to follow a certain rule, meet a deadline, or submit a particular document.

How does a lawyer help you?

If your work-related injury or illness affects your long-term ability to work, a lawyer can be essential to getting a settlement or award that's large enough to cover a fair portion of your future wage loss. This is especially true if you'll never be able to work in the same capacity as you did before your injury. Permanent disability benefits can be very expensive for the insurance company, and it will do everything it can to minimize your disability rating (the measure of your long-term limitations). Insurance companies usually have high-powered lawyers working for them; having an experienced lawyer on your side will level the playing field.

What to do if your workers comp is denied?

You should consult with a workers' comp lawyer if the insurance company denied your claim or disputes any part of it, such as your need for certain medical treatment or time away from work. Insurance companies often routinely deny workers' comp claims, assuming that injured employees won’t appeal or challenge the decision. Unfortunately, some workers take the denial at face value and miss out on the benefits they're entitled to receive.

What happens when an insurance company puts up a fight?

When the insurance company puts up a fight, you could face tactical delays, demands for independent medical exams, or low-ball settlement offers. An experienced workers’ comp lawyer will know how to deal with these types of insurance defense tactics and can help you get your medical expenses covered and receive a fair settlement or award.

What to do after a workplace injury?

After a workplace injury, your top priority is probably getting paid for your medical bills and lost wages as quickly as possible. Sometimes, hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer is the best way to make this happen. Other times, you may be able to handle the case on your own successfully, particularly if you had a minor injury, your employer acknowledges that it happened on the job, you didn't miss much work, and you don't have any complicating medical issues like preexisting conditions.

Does having a lawyer help with insurance?

With an attorney in the picture, the insurance company will be more motivated to negotiate, and your lawyer will be able to evaluate whether you should accept the settlement offer.

Can You Afford a Workers' Comp Lawyer?

Before discussing the merits of hiring a workers' comp attorney, it makes sense to ask whether you can afford to hire one. Fortunately, workers’ comp attorneys almost always work on a contingency fee basis (by taking a percentage of the settlement or award they're able to win for you). This means the lawyer only gets paid if you get paid, and you don’t need to worry about paying the fees up front. According to our survey of readers with workers' comp claims, workers' comp attorneys charge an average of 15 percent of their clients' award or settlement.

What is the purpose of workers comp?

Ideally under workers comp, the injured employee receives the care (s)he needs to become healthy and productive once more, as well as tax-free wages to pay the bills; the employer gets a healthy worker and avoids costly litigation.

How long does a workers comp claim last?

By contrast, because there routinely are ongoing disputes over evolving issues — your claim is denied; you’re having trouble getting medical care; you’re unable to return to your previous job; your disabilities are disputed — workers comp cases can last for years, even decades.

What Should I Ask a Prospective Attorney?

Workers compensation cases are unlike third-party liability lawsuits in which the endgame is clear: The plaintiff will win, or be denied, a pot of money. It’s the rare liability claim that extends beyond a handful of years.

How long does it take to settle a workers compensation case?

A 2015 survey of workers compensation clients by the law firm Martindale-Nolo indicated the average case took more than 15 months to resolve. Cases involving permanent disabilities, or negotiated settlements, or clients represented by lawyers — boat-rockers all, it would seem — stretched out an additional two to three months.

Does Raaymakers understand the impulse of sick or injured workers not wanting to “rock the boat”?

That acknowledged, Raaymakers understands the impulse of sick or injured workers not wanting to “rock the boat.”

Can you appeal workers compensation if you are permanently disabled?

You are permanently disabled, either totally or in part, and the insurer resists your rating. Your employer and insurer fail to pay workers compensation benefits promptly, counting on you not to file an appeal.

Can employers dissuade workers from filing workers comp?

Employers, who despise the knock-on effects of higher premiums associated with claims, will attempt to dissuade workers from filing a workers comp claim “even when they’ve had a legitimate on-the-job accident, ” she says.

Why do you need an attorney for workers comp?

With that in mind, these are the top reasons for hiring an attorney. 1. Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney to Evaluate the Claim .

What does a workers compensation attorney do?

An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will work to protect your rights. They are on your side, which means they are focused on what course of action is in your best interest. Employers want to protect themselves, and the insurance company wants to spend as little money as possible.

Why is my workers comp claim denied?

One reason for denial is if you have a pre-existing condition in the area of the injury. A workers’ comp doctor may say all your pain is from the other condition and not from the injury , so the claim is denied. 6. An Attorney Can Negotiate a Settlement Offer.

What happens if a subcontractor is responsible for another subcontractor's injury?

If one subcontractor was responsible for another’s an injury, they might be liable instead of the owner of the job site. 5. A Worker’s Comp Attorney Can Appeal a Denial.

What can an attorney do for you?

An attorney can determine the cost of your injury with current and future medical expenses and help you decide what is a fair and adequate amount for a settlement.

What can a lawyer do for you?

They can offer legal advice to warn you of possible complications that would require their services. At the very least, it will help you feel more informed and better prepared for dealing with the insurance and employer.

Can a worker's comp attorney appeal a denial?

A Worker’s Comp Attorney Can Appeal a Denial. Many times, a workers’ compensation claim will be denied. The person may have waited too late to file a claim or filed it incorrectly. They may have left out important information, or some other reason caused the denial.

How long does it take to file a workers comp claim?

Reporting regulations and deadlines vary from state to state, but it should typically take no longer than 30 days to complete this process.

What does an attorney do for you?

A lawyer will file the paperwork on time, build your case, negotiate with the insurance company and draft a settlement, if one is agreed on. If it’s not, you’re headed for a hearing.

What to do if your insurance doesn't agree with your rating?

If the insurance company doesn’t agree with the rating, it can require you to get an independent medical exam (IME) by a doctor of its choosing. Chances are that doctor will give you a lower rating than what you (and your sore neck) feel you deserve. A lawyer can help convince a judge you are entitled to a higher rating.

What happens if an injury is unreported?

That injury is aggravated further at work, suddenly becomes serious and the employer/carrier says the original injury didn’t occur at work.

Do attorneys cross-examine witnesses?

An attorney not only will prepare your argument, he or she will prepare you to say the right things in testimony. They also will cross-examine the insurance company’s witnesses. That job should not be left up to amateurs. Unlike civil cases, workers compensation law has a safety net of sort.

Is it bad to handle workers compensation?

Unless you’re an attorney or enjoy reading workers compensation manuals in your spare time, probably not. Handling a case on your own is usually a bad idea, especially since the insurance company will be represented by someone who’s probably handled hundreds of cases.

Can a minor injury be a preexisting condition?

Your injury is minor and doesn’t require much medical treatment – The workers comp system is specifically designed to handle these types of cases. You don’t have a preexisting condition that was aggravated by the accident – Preexisting conditions can complicate your claim, like a neck injury from car wreck that is inflamed by a fall at work.

What Does a Worker's Comp Lawyer Do?

You may be wondering what you can expect from a workers' compensation attorney, if you decide to hire one. Here are tasks that workers' comp attorneys handle for their clients:

How Much Does a Worker's Comp Lawyer Cost?

The fee charged depends on many factors, such as your geographic location and how experienced the attorney is. Many states have laws that cap the percentage workers' comp attorneys can take at between 10% and 20%.

Why do injured workers hire lawyers?

Other factors that led injured workers to hire lawyers included the severe nature of their injuries, the size of the employer, the employee's tenure with the company, and the employee's age , according to the survey.

Why do people hire attorneys?

Surprisingly, almost half (46%) of those surveyed said they hired an attorney because they mistakenly believed their claims were denied, when in fact, their claims had not yet even entered the system.

Do employers deny workers comp claims?

Unfortunately, employers or their insurance providers often deny workers' comp claims, even when they shouldn't. Many people hire attorneys for workers' comp claims to help them get fair compensation.

Did most people with workers comp not hire an attorney?

Interestingly, they found that most people with a workers' comp case (71%) did not hire an attorney. Of the people who did hire an attorney for their workers' comp case, most said they did so after feeling threatened — either by their employer or by the workers' comp process in general.