If you experience a work-related injury or illness, you may wonder if you need to hire a workers’ compensation attorney to ensure you receive all the benefits you’re entitled to as you recover. The answer depends on several things, including how severe you have been injured, how complex your case may be, and the actions of your employer and its insurance company.
You may not need a workers’ compensation attorney if your illness or injury is relatively minor, has not caused you to miss much or any work, and your employer steps up right away to ensure any medical bills are handled.
However, there are many other fairly common circumstances when you will want the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer:
Your claim has been denied. A majority of workers’ compensation claims are actually denied the first time they are filed because insurers are betting that most workers will fail to appeal. Sadly, they are usually right. Having a workers’ comp attorney involved in filing your claim and, if necessary, appealing an initial denial gives you the best opportunity to receive just compensation for your illness or injury.
The settlement offer is low. If you are unsure whether the settlement offer you receive is good enough to cover all your medical bills and lost wages, don’t count on the insurance company to look after your best interests. However, your attorney is always on your side looking out for your best interests, so if you want the best possible settlement, hire one.
Your claim involves a temporary or permanent disability. If your illness or injury is severe enough to prevent you from returning to your job -- or performing any work -- you could be entitled to weekly payments or a lump sum benefit to make up for lost wages. Getting these benefits can be a complex process, so you will want an experienced workers’ comp lawyer involved in your case.
You plan to apply for -- or already receive -- Social Security disability benefits. Your workers’ compensation settlement must be structured properly as it affects the amount you could receive from Social Security disability benefits. A workers’ comp attorney knows how to draft your settlement agreement to mitigate or get rid of this offset.
Your injury was caused by a third party or your employer’s gross misconduct. While the workers’ comp system is in place to prevent civil lawsuits for work-related injuries, you are permitted to sue under certain circumstances. These include if a third party caused your injuries or if your employer was grossly negligent or intentionally caused your injury.
You suffer retaliation for filing a workers’ comp claim. If you have been fired, demoted, suffered a cut in pay, or been discriminated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim, you should contact an attorney immediately to protect your legal rights.
Have you been injured at work? Don’t hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. Let our team stand by your side throughout the workers’ compensation claim process to ensure you are fully compensated for your work-related injuries. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll-free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.