Worker’s compensation is different from other forms of personal injury compensation. There is a whole separate legal system devoted to evaluating worker’s compensation claims. So, do you need a lawyer to receive worker’s compensation?
It really depends on your situation. That’s what we’re going to clear up in this article.
You may not have to hire a lawyer, but getting a consultation from a worker’s compensation lawyer is always a good idea. The procedures that you, your employer, and their insurance company have to follow can be complex and aren’t always clear. It’s easy to miss a deadline that could jeopardize your claim.
As a general rule, if you are injured at the job you need to report it to your supervisor immediately so they can begin the process. You may be required to get examined by a specific doctor that the insurance company approves. However, getting a second opinion from your own doctor is possible if you follow certain procedures, and a worker’s compensation lawyer can help you with that.
The Simplest Situation
In general, you won’t need to involve a lawyer if the following situations apply:
- Your injury is minor enough that you can expect to make a complete recovery.
- You have no pre-existing conditions in the same area you received your injury.
- You’ve missed little time getting back to work.
- Your employer admits that you got injured on the job.
This is the simplest situation and does not require a lawyer’s help to get your compensation, though speaking with one can help you avoid potential pitfalls with things like deadlines and reporting requirements.
Everything Else Needs A Lawyer
If any of those situations aren’t true, or something interferes with the claim, it’s time to retain a lawyer. These include situations like:
- Your injury is worse than you thought and you can’t return to your job, or do your job as well as you could before, or can no longer work at all.
- The settlement you receive doesn’t cover all of your medical expenses.
- Your employer denies your claim.
- You do not receive your compensation promptly.
- You are retaliated against for making a claim.
- A third party at work injured you, or an employer’s negligence lead to your injury.
Another situation where you’ll need a lawyer is when you know you’ll want to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Your worker’s compensation can cause those payments to be reduced without a lawyer’s assistance.
Even in minor cases, retaining a worker’s compensation lawyer is still a good idea to make sure that your claim is processed as quickly as possible. These cases are often paid on contingency, which means that you will not need to pay your lawyer until you receive compensation.
If you are completely unfamiliar with the worker’s compensation rules, there is a poster hung in every workplace with the basics for your state. Find it and read it carefully. That will keep you from making early mistakes that can jeopardize your claim and outline the responsibilities of you and your employer for handling claims.
If you need assistance with a worker’s compensation claim, our lawyers are ready to help you. Contact The Cochran Firm for a consultation.