Most employers try very hard to provide a safe working environment for their workers. Not only do they value their employees, but they also do not want expensive accidents on their record.
However, sometimes those accidents do occur. They may be minor with just a quick trip to the doctor and some time off, or they could be major with major medical bills and lost time at work.
Worker’s compensation is the insurance coverage that employers have to cover the expenses when someone is injured on the job. However, just because there is worker’s compensation doesn’t always mean you will get what you deserve. This is where a lawyer for worker’s compensation comes in.
Insurance companies work hard to pay out as little as possible on claims. Since work is how you support your family, you must be treated fairly.
What Does Worker’s Compensation Cover
If you have been injured on the job, the bills will start to add up quickly. Besides, if you are unable to work, there is no money coming in. This is where worker’s compensation steps in. Here is what it will cover:
1. Medical Bills
After an injury, you will need to see a doctor. You may be taken to the emergency room or told to follow up with a family doctor. If your injuries are serious, there may even be a hospital stay involved.
All of your medical bills directly related to the accident are covered under worker’s compensation. This also includes prescriptions and any ongoing physical therapy.
2. Lost Wages
If you are unable to work after the accident, you will still need money to pay the bills. Worker’s compensation will pay up to a certain amount of your regular pay.
Each state uses its own calculations to determine this amount. You will need to check with your state’s guidelines.
3. Disability Benefits
Some injuries are severe and cause disability. This can be temporary or permanent, along with part-time or full-time.
Each category has its own set of benefits. Here is a breakdown of the disability ratings for a worker’s compensation claim.
4. Funeral Costs and Death Benefits
In the extremely unfortunate event where the injury results in death, the worker’s compensation will cover a portion of the funeral costs.
There will also be a financial benefit for the designated beneficiary.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Workers Compensation
You are probably thinking with all the coverage’s available, your employer will just handle all the details. That is not a good strategy.
The insurance company will receive a copy of your claim and your supervisor or employer will have little input at that point. The representatives and lawyers for the insurance company will now be in charge.
It is their job to pay as little as possible to save money. It is also their job to settle as quickly as possible. They will offer a settlement almost immediately. Since you could still be facing time off or other medical bills, you do not need to take the first offer.
In fact, you need to have an experienced worker’s compensation attorney working on your behalf to ensure protection now and for the future.
Tips For Hiring a Worker’s Compensation Lawyer
Now that you know the importance of a worker’s compensation lawyer, here are some tips to find the right one for you.
1. Experience in Your Type of Claim
All worker’s compensation claims are not the same. There are many different types of industries, accidents, and injuries. You want to make sure the lawyer chosen has a proven record on the exact type of injury sustained.
2. Good Reviews
Before signing on with an attorney to represent your ongoing interests, take the time to read their reviews. Any lawyer who has been in business for a while will have reviews posted on their website. Keep in mind, not everyone will have the same opinion, but you do want to see more good reviews than bad.
You can also ask around with family and friends for recommendations. It is comforting to work with someone that has already shown they can get the job done correctly.
4. Their Success Rate
Just because someone has been doing workman’s compensation law for a long time doesn’t necessarily mean they are successful. Be sure to ask about their success rate and information regarding previous claims that are similar to your own.
5. Trust Your Instinct
Nothing beats listening to your gut. Set up a meeting with the prospective attorney and go over your list of questions and concerns. Their answers and their commitment to your claim will help make the decision easier for you.
Documents Your Lawyer Will Need
Once you have chosen your attorney, they will need to collect the documents required to submit to the insurance company. Here is what they will need.
What Does a Worker’s Compensation Attorney Do for You
There is more to a worker’s compensation claim then just lost wages and immediate medical bills. There is the issue of any ongoing treatment, possible disability claims, and just overall fair treatment.
When you are hurt, the last thing you need is to hassle with an insurance company representative or their attorney. You need someone on your side. Here is what your lawyer will do for you.
1. Collect Evidence
So much of the settlement offer depends on accurate evidence. This includes the working conditions, the details of the accident, and any other important details about the claim.
It also includes the collection of all medical treatments, diagnoses, and prognosis. Basically, this just means anything related to your medical condition both now and in the future as a result of the accident and injury.
Your attorney will also collect evidence such as sworn statements from other workers about the conditions or accident, as well as from your family and friends regarding your current medical and emotional well-being.
Detailed evidence can make a huge difference in the amount of the settlement.
2. Trained Negotiator
When it comes time to negotiate a settlement, you can bet the insurance company will bring out someone greatly experienced. They are trying to reduce the amount of the payout.
Your lawyer is also highly trained in these tactics and will know how to respond and counter. Many situations can arise in these negotiations and you need someone with your best interests working on your behalf.
3. Deposition/Hearing Representation
Even with the best negotiation skills, sometimes these claims are not easily settled. If your case moves on to a hearing or trial, an attorney is definitely required.
They are experienced in the terminology, proceedings, motions, and how to accurately work to secure the best financial outcome for you and your family. They can even appeal the decision if it does not go in your favor.
4. Locate Additional Benefits
Depending on the cause of the accident, there could be a third party involved. This might be a supplier or the manufacturer of a faulty piece of machinery. These individuals or companies may also bear some responsibility for what happened.
Your attorney can investigate and decide if they should be brought to the settlement table.
What Happens at a Deposition
If your case is unable to be settled during negotiations, the next step may be a deposition. This is not considered a trial but is a legal proceeding. The information provided in a deposition can be used if the case ends up in a hearing.
Usually, a deposition takes place in the office of the lawyer for the insurance company. They will have their representatives, and you will have your attorney to protect your rights. There will also be a court reporter to record everything. They will have you swear an oath to tell the truth.
With current COVID restrictions, these depositions are held via video teleconferencing. The same participants will still be involved, and you will still be under oath.
You will be asked a series of questions starting with your background and where you have worked in the past. You will then be asked about the accident, your injuries, treatment, and any ongoing issues.
While this sounds intimidating, the only thing you need to remember is to tell the truth. Your lawyer is there to make sure the questions are legal and relevant and to protect you from being mistreated by the other side.
Don’t Gamble With Your Future
No one expects to have an accident at work, but they still happen every day.
Even if you have a good relationship with your employer it is still a good idea to enlist the help of a lawyer for worker’s compensation to get the most from your claim. Don’t gamble with your financial future.
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