Should You Hire a Workers Comp Lawyer?
Every year, insurance companies pay out over $50 billion to settle workers compensation claims. Overexertion, slips, and falls are some of the most common workplace injuries, and they account for most of this settlement.
As an employee, getting into a workplace accident is the last thing on your mind when you check into work, but the threat is always there, regardless of how low risk your job is.
Then the worst happens, and you get injured at work. You’re unable to work for a while – or permanently – and you’re spending money on medical costs. This is when you realize you need to file a workers compensation claim. Should you go it alone or hire a workers comp lawyer?
Read on to learn why hiring a lawyer is the smartest move.
You (Probably) Don’t Understand Workers’ Compensation Laws
Unless you’re a workers comp lawyer, you certainly don’t understand workers compensation laws in your state.
As a result, when you’re injured at work it can be difficult to know whether your employer is legally responsible for your injuries. Or you could fail to file a claim for fear of losing your job. If this is what you’re facing, you probably don’t know it’s illegal for an employer to treat you unfairly or fire you for filing a claim.
When you hire a workers comp lawyer, you’re getting a professional who has spent years helping injured workers like you get the compensation they deserve. Your lawyer will explain the relevant laws to you, as well as identify any grey areas.
If you work as an independent contractor for a certain company in Louisiana, for instance, you may or may not qualify for compensation when injured on the job. You need a lawyer who understands Louisiana workers compensation laws to assess your contract and determine whether you’re eligible for compensation.
Your Employer Can Deny Your Claim
Why should an employer deny a claim? After all, it’s the insurance company paying out the money.
Well, employers have much to lose when their insurance carriers have to settle workers comp claims. If the number of claims filed by employees of Company X keeps increasing every year, the insurance company will increase premiums. And given that companies pay these premiums from their revenues (not employees’ deductions), you can see why an employer might be inclined to deny a claim.
Yet, one of the first things you should do after getting injured on the job is to report to your employer. When the time to file a compensation claim comes, you’d expect your employer to help you through the process.
However, if your employer is not cooperating or outright denying the claim, it’s time to get in touch with an experienced workers comp lawyer. Such a lawyer knows the buttons to push to get your employer and their insurance providers back on the negotiation table.
Get the Right Settlement Offer
Business is about keeping expenses low.
It is, therefore, not uncommon to find employers or insurance companies offering low or unfair settlement offers to claimants.
Without a worker’s comp lawyer on your side, the other party can easily arm twist you into accepting the offer, or they can falsely promise to pay more later.
You can also accept an offer because you feel it’s right. Let’s say you spent $10,000 treating your injuries. You file a compensation claim and, to your surprise, the employer or his insurer quickly offers $20,000. In your view, the employer has actually overcompensated you.
When the deal is too good, think twice!
Your employer certainly didn’t offer that amount out of goodwill. He knows if you filed a proper claim that factors in all losses and injuries (including things like emotional trauma), he could be paying a lot more.
For those reasons, you should not hesitate to hire a workers comp lawyer. He will assess your case and compute an amount that runs beyond the obvious costs. This will enhance your chances of getting the right settlement offer.
You Need to File a Lawsuit
By now, you can tell the various reasons that can necessitate you to file a workers compensation lawsuit. Denial of a claim and low settlements offer are the most common.
When things get to this point, some workers give up. One, you risk infuriating your employer if you keep pressing on or, two, you think hiring a lawyer to help you fight in court is costly.
By the way, never shy away from getting legal help because of the fees. Sure, legal fees vary from law firm to law firm, but a workers comp lawyer worth his salt will only take a percentage of the settlement once the case is won. If you find a lawyer asking you to pay so they can begin working on your case, move on.
Anyway, when it’s apparent you need to take your case to court, the lawyer will prepare the necessary documents, often depending on the nature of your accident. If your injury was a result of a slip and fall accident, for instance, your lawyer has to gather the necessary evidence in order to prove liability. Click for more information on what it takes to file a successful slip and fall lawsuit.
Do the Right Thing and Hire a Workers Comp Lawyer
Evidently, hiring a workers comp lawyer is a smart move.
Even if your injuries are minor, you’ve missed no work as a result of the injury or the employer has accepted full liability, there is a chance you might fail to get the right settlement offer. With a lawyer on your side, you’ll have greater peace of mind, and you’ll be confident of receiving the compensation you truly deserve.
Ever been injured in on the job? How did you handle the claims process? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.