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Should You or Shouldn’t You Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have an injury or illness due to work-related reasons, you may be mulling over hiring a workers’ compensation attorney or handling your case alone. The answer depends on a lot of things, mainly the severity of your condition, the general complexity of your case, and your employer’s or its insurer’s actions.
Generally speaking, you have a good chance of getting by without an attorney’s help if all of the following are true in your situation:
> You had a minor workplace injury (think twisted ankle or a cut that needs a few stitches)
> Your employer acknowledges that your injury was a result of work.
> Your injury had little to no effect on your work.
> You don’t have a pre-existing condition that may have been worsened by the recent work-related injury.
On the other hand, the following situations are examples of when it may be necessary to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer:
> Your employer doesn’t pay your benefits right or denies your claim outright.
Employers and their insurers routinely decline workers’ compensation claims, believing workers will not appeal. Regrettably, they’re generally right. Hiring a workers’ comp lawyer costs zero upfront (explanation will come later), and it offers you the best chance of getting a fair award or settlement.
> Your employer offers settlement that only partially covers your lost wages or medical bills.
If you’re unsure about a settlement offer being good enough, don’t put your complete trust in the compensation judge in terms of giving you a fair deal. Workers’ comp settlements do require judicial approval, but usually, judges will just sign off an agreement if it is not grossly unjust. If you really want someone who will fight for your interests, hire a lawyer
> Your medical issues have significantly reduced your ability to perform your previous work, or made you totally incapable of performing any work at all.
As compensation for lost wages, you may be entitled to once-a-week payments or one lump sum payment, if you have been partially or totally and permanently disabled by your injury. These cases can be very costly for insurance providers, and they will do everything to prevent them from giving you what you deserve. To give a good fight, hire a reputable workers’ comp attorney.
> You are getting or would like to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
With an improperly structured settlement, your workers’ comp benefits can significantly drive down your Social Security disability payments. But if you hire an experienced lawyer, this problem can be eliminated or at least minimized.
These are only a few of the scenarios where a workers’ comp lawyer’s expertise can make or break your case. To be safe, don’t be afraid to consult one and discuss the possibilities pertaining to your particular case.
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