When to Hire an Attorney for a Workers’ Compensation Claim
When a work-related illness or injury happens, it takes a toll on your ability to maintain employment and keep up with the necessary medical bills. Rest assured knowing that financial protections are in place. You don’t need to live without an income or pay for expensive medical treatments during your recovery. File a Workers’ Compensation claim to access available financial support.
Workers’ Compensation (also known as Worker’s Comp or Workman’s Compensation) is insurance coverage that shields employees from financial loss due to workplace accidents and injuries. Employers maintain Worker’s Compensation insurance, then employees can file a claim if an injury occurs.
Navigating the Paperwork and Claim Process
After you are injured on the job, it’s necessary to navigate the insurance process to access the money that is available for your claim. Many employees find it confusing to handle the paperwork and filings. So they choose to hire a Workers’ Compensation lawyer to help with the filing and settlement.
This process is complicated at times, especially for major injuries and ongoing recovery. Hiring a Workers’ Compensation attorney not only helps you deal with the paperwork, but legal services are also essential to reduce your stress during a challenging situation.
Should You Represent Yourself?
Not every employee needs to hire an attorney. If there’s any question about whether you might benefit from legal support, then it doesn’t hurt to schedule a consultation to learn more about your options.
You might be able to navigate the Workers’ Compensation process by representing yourself without the assistance of an attorney. But, too often, DIY Workers’ Comp filings overlook important details. As a result, employees don’t maximize the available financial support – or the claim is denied.
If it’s a minor injury on the job, then you can likely get by without hiring an attorney. For example, a minor injury is something similar to a small cut that requires a few stitches. A DIY approach is only a good idea when the employer admits the occurrence of an injury at work. You might also choose a DIY approach when missing little or no work because of the injury.
7 Signs You Need a Workers’ Comp Attorney
- Pre-Existing Condition: Do you have a pre-existing condition affecting the same part of the body that was injured? Then, it’s best to hire an attorney. The insurance company will try to deny coverage due to pre-existing health conditions, but your attorney can help you gather the proof necessary for your Workers’ Comp case.
- Permanent Disability: The most expensive type of claim is when a permanent disability happens in the workplace. Insurance companies know that they will need to pay a lot over the years if the injury prevents an employee from fully returning to work. It’s best to work with an experienced attorney to manage the negotiations when the insurance company contests the claims.
- Missed Work: If the injury is serious enough that you can’t work, then you should seek financial coverage for your missed hours. Wage compensation is in addition to payment for the medical bills and treatments. An attorney will help you identify specific coverage available to maximize compensation.
- Employer Denial: One common occurrence with a small injury is that the employer denies that the incident happened at work, so the issue goes unreported. As the employee continues with regular duties, the injury is aggravated more, leading to serious health issues in the future. If the employer isn’t claiming responsibility for the injury, then hire a Workers’ Compensation attorney immediately.
- Employer Retaliation: Various types of retaliation can happen to employees with Workers’ Compensation cases. Talk to an attorney as soon as possible if you experience any type of retaliation, such as being demoted, fired, reduced hours, or unnecessary pressure to come back to work against the doctor’s recovery orders.
- Claim Filing: It’s important to start the injury reporting process immediately after the accident occurs. Your employer should facilitate this process by providing the necessary paperwork and assisting with the case reporting to the insurance carrier. Is your employer delaying the report or not supporting the process? Then you might need to involve the services of an experienced attorney to help.
- Denied Claim: Did you attempt a DIY Worker’s Compensation filing? Then, receive the disappointing news that your claim was denied? You have the option to appeal the claim. But it’s necessary to have expert advice as you are working through the appeal process. If there is a disagreement about the claim, tap into available services from a knowledgeable legal team.
How a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Assist
Your attorney does more than file the forms and tracking the filing deadlines. This legal support is essential to build your case. An attorney gathers applicable evidence to show the insurance company how the injury is affecting you.
Additionally, it’s common to go through negotiations at some point during the claim process. The insurance company will try to minimize the amount of money they need to pay. On the other hand, your attorney will ensure you are getting the fair amount due. This money allows you to cover all medical bills, missed paychecks, and unexpected costs. Always make sure to have legal support when you are finalizing a settlement agreement.
There are times when a settlement can’t be reached, which means that your case will go to a trial or hearing. Your attorney will prepare the arguments and provide the court with the necessary information to make your case before the judge.
Insurance Coverage to Protect Employees
The original intent of Workers’ Compensation was to provide fair compensation to injured workers. Unfortunately, the industry has shifted over the years, and many current practices favor insurance companies and employers.
Remember that the insurance company uses highly trained lawyers to minimize their out-of-pocket expenses. You deserve the same legal protection to ensure you can access the available money for your claim. Hiring a Workers’ Compensation attorney is one of the best decisions you can make to protect your finances and family.
AMA Law Can Help
Even when employers are proactive about maintaining safety in the workplace, there are often situations that result in employee injury – leading to Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation claims. AMA Law is here to protect your interests, helping you navigate the complicated processes that come with a filing and claim. When you need an experienced Oklahoma attorney, we invite you to reach out to our team to learn more about available services.