Work-related injuries and illnesses are a widespread and serious problem in the United States; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry employers reported 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2019. Not only that, but the National Council on Compensation Insurance’s Workers Compensation Statistical Plan database reveals that the average cost for all claims combined in 2017-2018 was $41,003. So, why do you need a workers compensation lawyer?
Don’t underestimate the importance of the right attorney
What do statistics like the above show? Well, they indicate that if you are unfortunate enough to suffer a work-related injury or illness, you should take the potential consequences extremely seriously, while also moving fast to determine your entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits. But this can be a very daunting situation that you should not be trying to handle on your own.
The sad reality is that while millions of workers’ compensation claims are filed every year, the process of actually securing compensation for medical costs, lost wages and mental anguish can be arduous. All too many employers and insurers try to evade responsibility for injuries sustained by victims in the workplace. In turn, many injured employees either give up or are forced to navigate a complex appeals system to attempt to obtain the benefits they deserve.
This is where the services of the most professional and capable workers’ compensation attorney can be invaluable. However, as an injured worker, it is crucial to find the right workers’ compensation lawyer quickly, not least given the often short deadlines that apply in different states – including both the initial deadline for providing notice to your employer and the statute of limitations.
So, as advised by the experts at Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC, what are some of the key things you should expect your workers’ compensation lawyer to do?
- Develop medical, vocational, and other evidence. A lack of this evidence is sadly one of the main reasons for the denial of workers’ compensation claims. And even if you make a successful claim, the strongest possible medical evidence will help ensure you receive all of the benefits and medical treatment you need and deserve. The right attorney can be instrumental in gathering all of this evidence for you.
- Help you after you file your claim. You might find the process of filing a claim to be straightforward
enough even if you haven’t first sought legal advice from a workers’ comp attorney. However, when it comes to getting in touch with a legal professional, the best advice really is “the earlier, the better”. This will give your chosen lawyer more time to get to know your case so that they can be in an even stronger position to assist if the claims process ends up being more difficult than you initially expected.
- Negotiate and structure a settlement agreement. When you reach the stage of negotiating a settlement with your employer’s insurance company, you will almost certainly be better placed to achieve the right result if you have a capable workers’ comp lawyer by your side. After all, these are the professionals who have seen it all when it comes to the negotiating tricks and tactics that insurance companies use. A capable attorney can help ensure you secure a settlement agreement based on a reasonable estimate of your future medical expenses.
- Represent you in a workers’ comp hearing or trial. If a settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your case will proceed to an administrative hearing or trial in front of a workers’ comp judge. Again, a good workers compensation lawyer can greatly assist here, including by preparing extensively for the hearing and – at the hearing itself – presenting to the judge a strong “theory of the case” (an argument for why you should receive benefits). They will also be able to make opening and closing arguments, examine witnesses, and raise objections in the event of improper behavior by the insurance company.
A workers compensation lawyer, then, can be a crucial ally in your quest for the settlement that you deserve for your injuries, helping to protect your rights and advise you on your options.
The services of a good workers compensation lawyer in this field should never be underestimated, as they can help make a great difference to your quality of life long after you sustain a work-related injury.