Should I hire a workers’ compensation attorney? Can’t I pursue this case on my own and save on the legal costs?
If you’re in this conundrum, one thing is clear: you’ve been injured at work. Thankfully, your injuries weren’t fatal, which is something that happens to over 5,000 workers every year. After sustaining a workplace injury, you’re entitled to compensation. Sometimes you can get compensated adequately and justly without needing a lawyer, but most of the time, you’re going to need a lawyer. If you’re unsure whether to lawyer up, we’re sharing clear signs you need to make that call.
Your Employer Has a Reputation for Rejecting Compensation Claims
Employers typically purchase workers’ compensation insurance from an insurance company. However, don’t be fooled to think that they don’t have a say regarding the settlement of claims. In most cases, your claim will be sent through your employer, so they have a big hand in it. Some employers will facilitate your claim with the best intentions, but most will try to shortchange you. This is because if a company files many claims, the insurance provider will bump up the premiums.
If there have been more than a few accidents at your workplace, you probably know how the employer handles the claims. If you don’t, reach out to some of the affected employees and get their view of the process. If your employer doesn’t have a good reputation for helping employees get compensated, don’t even think twice about hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer. Even if your case is clear as day and you’re one of the organization’s best employees, don’t for a second think your employer will give you special treatment. Get a lawyer.
Your Employer Denies Your Claim
Of course, it’s one thing to know your employer has a reputation for denying claims, and it’s another for them actually to deny it. You could resolve to give your boss the benefit of the doubt and proceed without the help of an attorney. Then you come face to face with what you’ve heard all along: your employer denies the claim outright or asks you to claim far less than you deserve. If you’re in any of these situations, it’s time to hire a lawyer. You don’t need anybody to tell you that your employer is going to frustrate your efforts henceforth.
You’ve to Stay in the Hospital for a Long Period of Time.
After you’ve been injured on the job, it’s procedural to file a report with the relevant department in the company. But you can only do this if you’re on your feet. If your injuries are severe and you have to spend several days or months or even years in hospital, you won’t be able to go to work and make the report. Some employers will ensure the report is filed on your behalf, but don’t count on this.
If there’s no official record of your accident, there’s only so much you can to get compensation. This is why you need to hire an attorney when you learn you’re going to spend a prolonged amount of time getting treatment. What’s more, your employer might have policies that provide timeframes for reporting accidents. You want to ensure your report goes in before the deadline lapses.
Most importantly, there are legal limits for claiming compensation. This ranges from one to three years in most states. Even if you’ll be receiving treatment for a long time, hiring a workers’ comp attorney ensures you have someone on your team fighting for you and your rights.
Your Settlement Is Taking Forever
Finally, you’ve filed your claim. The employer has okayed and sent it to the insurance company. The only thing remaining? Your settlement cheque. But wait, why is it taking forever to come through? You should get your money (if the claim is approved) within a month. If it’s been more than a month since you heard from the insurance company, it’s time to start looking for an attorney.
A claim taking long to be settled can mean several things. Of course, it could be the insurance company’s bureaucratic processes delaying your check (the one person whose signature is needed on your check is on vacation – classic excuse). Most of the time, though, it will be because the insurance company isn’t up to any good. You could make a complaint to your employer, but you’d rather the employer and the insurance company heard from your attorney in the form of a demand letter.
The Insurance Company Denies Your Claim
It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to deny workers’ comp claims. They will give a reason for denying the claim, which means you can rectify the problem and resubmit. If your claim has been denied for a reason that’s easy to fix, such as a clerical error, you don’t need a lawyer to help you fix it; however, if the claim has been denied because there isn’t sufficient evidence or for any other reason that looks like there’s nothing you can do about it, lawyer up!
A workers’ compensation lawyer knows the ins and outs of denied claims. They’ll know the appropriate measures to take and ensure you’re compensated. The same applies if the insurance company is offering to settle for less than you claimed. Don’t accept that deal even if it seems like the path of least resistance. Get a lawyer on your side, and you’ll improve your chances of getting the full amount.
Know When to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
You don’t necessarily need a workers’ compensation attorney after you’ve been injured on the job. There are times you do, though. With this guide, you now know when to lawyer up. Stay tuned to our blog for more helpful tips.