Workers’ compensation is supposed to help injured workers get the resources they need to make it through their time of disability. However, there are often obstacles that prevent them from receiving the fast and adequate compensation they need. Fortunately, a workers’ comp attorney may be able to help.
So in this article you will get the answers of your question such as when should I call a workers’ comp attorney? or other questions.
When to Call a Worker’s Comp Attorney
Sometimes, the workers’ comp system works smoothly and gets the required benefits into workers’ hands in a timely fashion. However, quite a few injured workers have to fight to get the payout they are entitled to by law. This essentially means workers should not blindly rely on the system to take care of them.
If you or someone you know has ever filed a workers’ comp claim, you may already be familiar with some of the roadblocks workers face. They are frustrating, time-consuming, and potentially damaging to your claim.
Unfortunately, many workers facing these obstacles go it alone and end up with denied claims or with payouts much smaller than they should be.
With a workers’ comp attorney, patients facing the following common obstacles have an advocate who works tirelessly to help ensure that their claims are paid in full and in a timely manner.
Your Employer Disputes the Accident
Your employer has the option of disputing any claim they feel to be invalid. But just because they dispute a claim does not mean they are justified in doing so. Sometimes, employers dispute claims illegally or unreasonably, leaving injured workers facing an adversarial process with their benefits on the line.
Various reasons why an employer might dispute your claim include:
- Employer believes the accident was outside of work
- Employer dislikes you
- Employer wants to save money
- Employer is skeptical of the scope of injuries and need for treatment
- Employer claims you are not covered by workers’ comp
Some of these reasons can not legally form the basis of a denied claim. For example, an employer would never admit to disputing a claim out of dislike of an employee. It is more likely they would use another reason for denial to hide the truth.
Employees may feel well taken care of at their places of employment. But they should never believe that their employer is their advocate.
The only professional who exists solely to protect your rights to compensation is a workers’ comp attorney. They have no other interests but yours and will fight against any employer or insurance company that disputes your claim.
Your Injury Is Serious
Workers with minor injuries do not often face significant challenges to their workers’ compensation claims, and they typically return to work after a short time. However, serious injuries often play differently.
A worker who suffers a serious injury may end up missing weeks, months, or even years of work and thus will need significant resources.
Unfortunately, employers and insurance companies will frequently do what they can to keep their payouts at a minimum for serious injuries. Neither wants to be on the hook for long-term healthcare expenses.
As a result, injured workers often must either accept lower payments or enlist the services of a workers’ compensation attorney to fight for the benefits they deserve.
Your Employer Is Dragging Their Heels
Workers’ comp is meant to provide relief to injured workers so they can cover their bills, lost wages, and other shortfalls caused by time off work. However, some employers drag their heels during the compensation process, adding more stress to a worker’s already stressful situation.
In some cases, an employer might delay the process out of fear of facing a safety violation or because they do not have insurance. Perhaps they believe if enough time goes by, their injured employer might drop the claim and return to work if the injury was not too severe.
Regardless of the “why,” injured employees suffer when employers fail to discharge their duties to file these claims.
Depending on the state, employers have a limited time to report and process your claim, but they may not be aware of this fact. However, ignorance of the law is not an excuse. And those who do know the law may simply be negligent or poor communicators.
Whatever the reason for the delay, a workers’ comp attorney can be instrumental in moving the process along.
Also read: How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
In some cases, injured employees face not only difficult recovery times due to their injuries but also employer retaliation for filing a workers’ comp claim. Depending on the extent of the injury, a workers’ comp claim could seriously affect an employer’s bottom line, especially if the employee needs much time off work.
In order to prevent employees from exercising their rights to this benefit, some employers penalize workers who make claims to prevent them from doing so in the future. Retaliation also serves as a deterrent for others to dissuade them from filing claims of their own if injured.
Some common forms of retaliation include:
- Reduction in hours
- Reduction in pay
- Reduction in responsibility
- Isolation from other employees and customers
Workers facing retaliation may find relief with the help of a workers’ comp lawyer.
Your Claim Is Denied
You should quickly hire a workers’ comp lawyer if your claim has been denied. Sadly, some injury victims with perfectly valid claims let denials keep them from the benefits they deserve. Workers should know that denials are not uncommon and are not the end of the story for a workers’ comp claim.
In many cases, denials are based on technicalities and reversible errors that attorneys can easily correct in a short period of time. However, some denials come about unreasonably and for the sole purpose of saving money.
An experienced workers’ comp attorney can spot these unreasonable denials from afar and will fight diligently to turn them into approvals.
There Is Third-Party Involvement
The workers’ compensation system sidesteps the question of fault and provides fast payments for injured workers. It also gives employers immunity from most employee injury-related lawsuits, meaning their workers can’t sue them if they have purchased workers’ comp coverage for their employees.
However, work accidents sometimes involve third parties who come into contact with employees during the course of business. These third parties may include:
- Delivery drivers
- Motorists in traffic
- Product designers, manufacturers, distributors, renters, or retailers
An injured worker has the right to file suit against third parties who may have been negligent and caused them injury. The claim is entirely separate and allows a worker to demand compensation for various damages not covered by workers’ compensation.
Because third-party claims require you to build a case that proves negligence and damages (among other things), it is never recommended that you try to sue a third party on your own.
There are numerous factors at play that could harm your case or cause it to be dismissed. A workers’ compensation attorney who understands personal injury is who you should call.
Your Employer Does Not Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance
In most states, the vast majority of employers must have some form of workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees. However, when your employer does not have the insurance, they may well have to face a personal injury lawsuit for the damages their employees suffer.
Additionally, injured employees in most states may have access to proceeds from specially created funds used to pay workers’ comp claims when the employer doesn’t have insurance.
States have realized that many employers break the law by failing to carry insurance for their employees. So they take up the slack using these funds. Hence, there is no need to fret if your employer lacks coverage. A workers’ comp attorney can still help you get your payout.
You Have a Preexisting Injury
A preexisting injury does not disqualify workers from collecting workers’ comp benefits. However, some employers and insurance companies may try to argue that your injury was not caused at work and that your claim should be denied.
Proving and disproving medical claims most often requires the use of medical experts with experience in the injuries in question.
When it comes to a preexisting injury, your workers’ comp lawyer will have to demonstrate that the injury became exacerbated while on the job and not before. On the other side, you can expect the insurance company to seek to prove the contrary.
As is often the case, insurance companies use denials for preexisting conditions as a starting point for compensation payout negotiations, which can often be fierce. For this reason, it is wise to have a seasoned workers’ comp lawyer running point.
There are far too many variables at play to let anyone but a consummate professional handle the compensation negotiations.
You Were Paid Partial Benefits
Workers’ comp benefits typically include a medical and an income component. However, some insurance companies will pay the medical expenses but won’t pay the disability benefits that would address your lost wages.
This practice is illegal and leads to the loss of significant funds for many injured workers. If an insurance company or your employer ever tells you you aren’t entitled to wage coverage, contact an experienced workers’ comp lawyer immediately to learn the truth of your case.
You Are Being Offered a Lump-Sum Settlement for Your Claim
A lump-sum settlement may sound like an ideal situation for an injured employer, and it just may be. However, understanding the reason why an insurance company would offer you a lump-sum settlement may make you hesitate in accepting their offer.
Insurance companies typically offer lump-sum settlements in an attempt to pay less than a particular claim’s value.
If a worker is suffering from a permanent disability, then an insurance company may be on the hook for disability payments for years and even decades. By convincing a worker to take a big payout all at once, their financial liability typically goes down.
Before any worker takes any money from an insurance company, they should seriously consider setting up a complimentary initial consultation with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer. Employees need a trustworthy evaluation of their case and any settlement offers before signing on any dotted lines.
You Are Unsure About the Claims Process
If you have been injured and are unsure about how to proceed, then you should contact the one professional whose job it is to safeguard your rights: a workers’ comp attorney. You deserve to understand every step of the process so you can make informed decisions.
A workers’ compensation lawyer will not only fight for your right to compensation but also make sure you have a proper understanding of the claims process and how your case is proceeding.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Help
A workers’ compensation attorney can help injured workers at every stage of the compensation process.
With an attorney on your side, your chances of getting higher compensation are greater than if you do it alone. An experienced professional can make sure you are taking full advantage of your options and rights and not leaving any benefits on the table.
Contact the Joel Bieber Firm for a complimentary consultation.
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