If you’ve been injured on the job, you may be thinking about hiring a work injury attorney. While it’s not always necessary to “lawyer up,” there are seven specific instances in which it probably makes sense to call an attorney:
- Your claim has been denied
- Your permanent disability rating is being disputed
- You’re having a hard time getting the treatment you need
- You have a pre-existing condition
- You can’t work the way you used to – or at all
- You receive government benefits
- You are told you must go to a worker’s comp hearing
You shouldn’t need an attorney just to get your workman’s compensation. Often, once you’ve agreed to receive workers’ compensation, you give up the right to sue your employer for negligence. If you don’t believe your worker’s compensation is enough to cover what you deserve and you would like to sue your employer, you should definitely contact an attorney.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these. If any of them apply to you, you may feel more comfortable approaching your case with an attorney fighting for your rights.
#1. Your claim has been denied.
Insurance companies deny claims every day, and for a wide range of reasons. Often, insurance companies try to say that a person’s claim isn’t work-related or that the person filing waited too long. However, you may be able to appeal a denial through the worker’s compensation system – and you may need an attorney to help navigate. Your lawyer can file the right paperwork, gather evidence and argue your case to the people who matter.
#2. Your permanent disability rating is being disputed.
Many worker’s compensation settlements are for permanent disability benefits. Typically, these types of benefits are based on your permanent disability rating. However, your insurance company doesn’t have to agree with your doctor. If that happens, your insurance company can tell you to have an independent medical examination, or IME, with a doctor the insurance company has chosen.
In many cases, the doctor who performs the IME assigns a lower disability rating than the person’s original doctor does – and the insurance company can use that IME to offer you lower benefits.
#3. You’re having a hard time getting the treatment you need.
Insurance companies aren’t known for approving things quickly. In fact, insurance companies often delay or deny work injury victims expensive medical treatments – even if those treatments can help in the person’s recovery. Sometimes working with a lawyer who’s willing to put pressure on the insurance company can help speed things along.
Related: 5 common slip-and-fall injuries
#4. You have a pre-existing condition.
If you have a pre-existing condition or old injury that involves the same part of your body you injured at work, the insurance company may try to fight you by saying your injury is because of your previous condition. This can throw everything off-track, resulting in the insurance company denying your claim altogether. Sometimes it takes a knowledgeable work injury attorney to show the insurance company that you really were injured at work and that your injury is not a result of your pre-existing condition or previous injury.
#5. You can’t work the way you used to – or at all.
When your work injury prevents you from performing the job you used to do, or when it prevents you from working at all, you’ll most likely need to maximize the worker’s compensation benefits you receive. In many cases, that takes help from a work injury attorney.
#6. You receive government benefits, like SSDI.
If you receive government benefits such as Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, you need to know that those benefits could be reduced if you receive worker’s compensation benefits. In that case, you may want to work with an attorney who can help minimize the reduction.
#7. You are told you must go to a worker’s comp hearing.
Sometimes insurance companies make extremely low settlement offers, or they may reject a claim entirely. When that happens, you can prove your case at a hearing. These hearings are a lot like legal cases you see in court – and you may find it advantageous to bring a work injury attorney to your hearing. Your attorney can argue your case for you.
Do You Need to Talk to a Work Injury Attorney?
If you’re like many people, you don’t have the experience necessary to negotiate with insurance companies – and you may want a work injury lawyer to do it for you. If you think you need an attorney on your side, set up your free consultation with us today.