How Can an Attorney Help You Get Workers’ Comp?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Sarah E. Stottlemyer with Stottlemyer & Associates, LLC.
Workers’ compensation, commonly referred to as “workers’ comp,” is a type of insurance carried by most employers to help pay some of the medical bills and lost wages for workers injured on the job. Workers’ comp insurance also protects employers from liability; in most cases, an injured worker cannot sue their employer for damages if they are already receiving workers’ comp benefits. Most states require employers to carry some form of workers’ compensation insurance, and even those that are not required to do so often choose to do so anyway.
While not every worker’s comp claim requires the assistance of an attorney, whenever an injured worker’s valid claim is denied or delayed, it’s a good idea to seek legal counsel. Additionally, if negligence caused or contributed to the injury and/or the injury was severe or required significant time off work, a workers’ comp attorney may be able to help ensure recovery for the injured worker and their family. For help dealing with a workers’ comp insurer or employer, reach out to a workers’ comp attorney right away.
A workers’ comp attorney will communicate with the insurer on your behalf.
Hiring a workers’ comp attorney to handle a catastrophic, denied, or reduced claim prevents you from having to communicate with the insurer on your behalf. In fact, the workers’ comp attorney may also represent you to your employer so that you do not need to communicate directly with them regarding your claim. A primary benefit in having an attorney speak on your behalf is the protection it gives you; it is unfortunately not uncommon for insurance companies and even unscrupulous employers to try and convince workers to admit that their injury is less serious than initially described, or to talk them into accepting a reduced claim.
A workers’ comp attorney can help collect evidence to prove the severity of your claim.
A common problem with workers’ comp claims is the denial of the injury on behalf of the employer. Certain evidence may be necessary to prove both that the injury occurred at work or during work-related activities, as well as to prove the severity of the injury. Medical bills, witness testimonies, security footage and more can all play a part in proving the necessity of granting workers’ comp benefits to an injured employee. While this evidence may be difficult for the average worker to obtain, a workers’ comp attorney will know exactly what to look for, how to collect it, and how to present it at your workers’ comp hearing.
If your injury was caused or contributed to by another party’s negligence, you may also be eligible to file a workplace injury claim.
In addition to seeking workers’ comp benefits, an employee may be eligible to file a workplace injury claim if any of the following are true:
- The employer does not offer workers’ compensation
- The workers’ comp benefits offered are grossly disproportionate to the injured worker’s related expenses
- The employer’s negligence directly caused or contributed to the injury
- The negligence of another employee caused or contributed to the injury
- The negligence of a third party individual or company caused or contributed to the injury.
The damages that may be sought in a workplace injury claim tend to be more expansive than those covered by workers’ comp benefits. However, workplace injury attorneys generally recommend filing for workers’ comp benefits first to begin receiving assistance as soon as possible. Workplace injury claims can take years to wrap up, which means it could be years before recovery from a lawsuit makes it to your bank account. This is another area in which a workers’ comp attorney may be able to assist. Many workers’ comp attorneys work closely with workplace injury attorneys or may even work in the field themselves. If it appears that negligence may have played a part in your injury, a workers’ comp attorney can give you a better idea of what your options for recovery are moving forward, and may even be able to provide you with helpful referrals.