Learn how a workers’ comp attorney can protect your rights and ensure you get maximum compensation after a work injury
Oftentimes, injured workers are encouraged by their employers to file a workers’ compensation claim without talking to an attorney. It’s important to keep in mind that employers and their workers’ compensation carriers do not represent workers and do not give legal advice that protects these workers.
In the age of do-it-yourself, workers’ comp is one area we suggest hiring a specialist. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the complex workers’ comp claim process and protect you from many of the pitfalls that occur when trying to file a claim on your own.
Top signs that you should hire a workers’ comp attorney
Some work injuries are more complicated than others, especially if they require extensive medical treatment and extended time off of work. Workers who experience any of the following are strongly encouraged to consult an experienced workers’ comp attorney for help with their claim to ensure their rights are protected.
You’re confused by the claims process and timeline
The process for filing a claim involves multiple steps, and trying to make sure everything gets done in the appropriate time frame is hard. If you miss a deadline or fail to provide the appropriate types of requested documentation, then your claim could be denied. Even in an ideal scenario, you might be dealing with pain or injuries that make it harder to focus.
A worker’s comp attorney is deeply familiar with the claims process and can walk you through each step of handling your case.
Your employer changes their behavior toward you after finding out about your claim
As an injured employee, you have a legal right to file a workers’ compensation claim, and you shouldn’t face retaliation for taking care of your needs. Unfortunately, some employers may respond with frustration or aggression. If your employer fires you, gives you a demotion or cuts your hours without a reasonable cause, then you could be the victim of retaliation.
In these situations, you need a lawyer to combat the discrimination and ensure that your employer is unable to retaliate due to your workers’ compensation claim.
You have a pre-existing condition that complicates your case
Pre-existing conditions can make it harder to prove that an injury occurred at work. Your employer and their medical insurance company may try to claim that the pre-existing condition caused your new injury or made one worse.
Even the courts may take this side, but an attorney will consult with medical experts and evaluate each detail of your medical history and work situation to find evidence that your pre-existing condition is not related to your new injury.
You get a reevaluation request
Getting your workers’ comp benefits approved feels like a sigh of relief, and receiving a reevaluation request can revive all of your former anxiety. Usually, this is a sign that your employer or their insurance company is seeking to prove that you’ve experienced substantial improvements regarding your injury that could provide justification for terminating or reducing your benefits.
Seeking legal advice helps you to avoid having your benefits cut off when you still have a legitimate reason for receiving them.
You receive a denial of coverage for a doctor-recommended treatment
Workers’ compensation benefits should cover all of the treatments that a doctor recommends. If your employer’s insurance company or a self-insured employer refuses to cover the cost of your care, then this is a valid reason to seek help from an attorney.
Depending upon the circumstances of your case, a lawyer can help demonstrate the need for the recommended treatment and make sure that you receive coverage for the services that you require for your recovery from a work-related injury.
Your employer disputes that your injury occurred at work
An employer might claim that your injury happened outside of work if they weren’t there to witness the accident or if you didn’t report the incident immediately. Some work-related injuries also take time to develop, which can lead an employer to dispute your claim.
Workers’ comp lawyers can use your medical records and reports to show a clearer link between your injury and your work environment.
Your injury prevents you from working long-term or leaves you with a permanent disability
The medical costs for your diagnosis and recovery increase substantially when you have a long-term injury or suffer a permanent disability. You could also face significant lost wages or even be required to change to a different type of job.
The stakes are simply too high to try to manage this type of situation on your own, and an attorney can develop a realistic expectation of what your future financial needs involve for recovering from a long-term injury.
You have an occupational illness that isn’t linked to a one-time accident
Certain types of illnesses and injuries take time to develop significant symptoms. A herniated disc might cause you increasingly worse pain over time, or your exposure to an environmental toxin might not generate respiratory symptoms until significant time has passed. With illnesses that take time to develop, it becomes even harder to prove that they’re related to your work duties or environment.
Experienced workers’ compensation lawyers are aware of common conditions that occur in different workplaces and know how to prove that they’re related to a job. Using the information that you provide and other details that they glean from research, a lawyer can successfully present the facts of your case to a court to show a clear link between your health condition and your prior employment situation.
You work for an employer that doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance
The majority of Alabama employers with 5 or more employees are obligated by law to pay for workers’ compensation insurance. However, there may be cases where some employers let their policies lapse or never choose to get workers’ compensation insurance in the first place.
If you believe you should be entitled to workers’ comp benefits and your employer tells you they don’t have any insurance, it’s crucial that you contact a workers’ comp attorney to explore your options for collecting compensation.
How a workers’ comp attorney can help with your claim
Below are some additional ways that an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help with your claim and get you maximum compensation for your injuries.
Get free consultations and advice
For starters, you have nothing to lose. With a free consultation, a lawyer will be able to assess your situation and provide you with a framework moving forward. No investment is required initially, so there is no reason not to seek the help of a qualified attorney. Additionally, you may be able to get valuable advice if you do decide to pursue the case independently.
Ensure your medical expenses are covered
Many workers’ comp insurance companies will deny medical benefits or deny the claim with the hopes that the employee will no longer pursue compensation. This saves the insurance company money. Most of the time, the employers are right: Many injured workers will use their personal health insurance to pay for medical treatment or stop pursuing benefits.
Any complications in your case can get out of hand without the help of a lawyer. If your claim is denied, a medical procedure is denied or your benefits are stopped, you will likely need the help of an attorney to remedy the situation.
Get a higher settlement
Sometimes, the settlement you get without an attorney negotiating on your behalf doesn’t meet all of your needs.
You want a doctor who meets all of your medical needs, so why would you not want someone to meet your legal needs? A lawyer who specializes in representing injured workers has the case law and legal knowledge to be able to get you the best work injury settlement possible.
There may also be hidden costs associated with your workers’ compensation benefits. For example, Social Security may be entitled to part of your benefits if you fail to structure your workers’ compensation settlement properly.
A lawyer knows how to draft settlement documents to avoid or minimize any unwanted diminution to your benefits.
Help with 3rd-party claims
There may be other parties involved in your case. If you were injured at work due to the fault of another, there might be a potential to recover compensation from a 3rd party. This might apply in cases where a defective product caused your injury or you were injured in an accident while driving for work.
An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you explore all possible options for recovering compensation in your case.
An on-the-job accident can create a lot of stress for an injured worker. In addition to dealing with physical pain, injured workers also have the stress of attending medical appointments and filing necessary claim documents, all while trying to figure out how to pay their bills and provide for their families.
An attorney can guide you through the workers’ compensation claim process and handle all the paperwork and negotiations with your employer so you can focus on your recovery.
Prevent denied claims
Claims that should be accepted are routinely denied because a denied claim saves the insurance company money or at least allows the insurance company to hold on to its money. Furthermore, when you’re injured at work and the claim is not a simple one, you want to make sure that you have someone on your side fighting for you.
Claims adjusters and employers do not represent or work for you and do not put your best interests first. You need an attorney that will be looking out for your interests and your interests alone.
Help you understand your rights
In most instances, claims adjusters have experience in handling claims and know much more about the workers’ compensation laws than injured workers, which means workers can be easily pressured into accepting unfair settlements.
Workers’ compensation attorneys evaluate these types of claims every day and are proficient in making sure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Even when a claims adjuster tells you that they will be “fair,” make sure that you have someone working for you that can determine what is fair to you.
Insurance adjuster won’t call me back. What should I do?
Prevent your employer from pressuring you to return to work too soon
Naturally, hard workers want to do whatever it takes to get back to work. In these situations, sometimes the workers will take an offer from a claims adjuster or work with a doctor to make sure they miss as little time as possible so they don’t look bad in the company’s eyes.
However, you should not feel as if you cannot take time off of work to properly heal from an injury sustained at work. If you feel pressure from the company, either through the insurance adjustor or through their approved doctor, to return to work too soon, you should consult an attorney about your rights.
Contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Nomberg Law Firm
There are many reasons to hire an attorney to handle your workers’ compensation case, but ultimately the decision is yours to make. Since initial consultations are free, there’s no harm in at least sitting down and talking with an attorney to explore your options.
If you’ve been injured or suffered an illness at work in Birmingham, contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Nomberg Law Firm. Our attorneys have extensive experience fighting for injured Alabama workers to get them the money they deserve. Let us handle the negotiations with your employer and their insurer so you can focus on healing.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.