If you recently got hurt at work, you’ve probably received a lot of advice from friends and family on how to pursue compensation for your injuries. One relative is in your ear telling you to hire an attorney, while another swears his neighbor paid more in legal fees than he received in his settlement.
So, who is right?
Whether or not you need a lawyer to file for workers’ compensation benefits depends on several factors. The severity of your injury, your employer’s actions, and the overall complexity of your case will ultimately determine whether it’s a good idea to seek legal representation.
When you should hire a workers’ comp attorney
Workers’ compensation cases are rarely straightforward, even when there’s clear proof that an injury occurred on the job. If any of the following is true, it’s important to contact a workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible:
- Your injuries are severe enough to require surgery
- Your employer denies your injury occurred on the job
- You did not receive your benefits promptly
- Your injuries may affect your ability to return to your current job
- You believe you are no longer able to work in any job
- You have a significant pre-existing condition
- Your medical benefits are denied
- Your claim has been denied and you plan to file an appeal
- Your employer’s settlement offer isn’t enough to cover your medical bills and missed wages
In other words, if your workplace injury is severe enough that your life will be permanently changed, your employer is disputing your claim, or you’re having trouble receiving the benefits you desperately need, it’s smart to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer who can advocate on your behalf.
When you can likely represent yourself
It’s wise to at least speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer in nearly every case. However, if you identify with all of the following, you may be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits without an attorney:
- Your workplace injury is relatively minor
- Your employer does not dispute fact that your injury happened at work
- You expect to go back to work at your current job after a few days or weeks
- You don’t expect your injury to result in permanent loss of bodily function
- You don’t have a pre-existing condition in the same body part as the injury for which you’re submitting a claim
For example, let’s say you sprained your ankle jumping from a loading dock while making a delivery. If your employer agreed that the injury happened during the course of employment, its insurance company paid your medical bills and a weekly benefit for the time you missed work, and your doctor has released you to return to your job, you probably don’t need a workers’ comp attorney. However, it’s always a good idea to request a free consultation to get an expert’s perspective on your case.
Not sure if you need a workers’ compensation lawyer? Request a free consultation to find out
The workers’ compensation system can be difficult to navigate regardless of the circumstances. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Whether your case involves a level of complexity best left to a professional or you’d just feel more comfortable working with an expert, the workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Office of Gerald Brody & Associates can stand by your side every step of the way. There are no up-front or out-of-pocket costs to obtain legal counsel. All attorney fees are paid as a percentage of your total settlement. If for some reason we don’t get you the benefits you need, you don’t pay a dime.
Call us today to schedule your free consultation at (619) 528-9800.