If you’ve been injured on the job, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, insurers and employers often deny legitimate claims, leaving workers to navigate the appeals system alone. Many claimants give up, but you don’t have to. A workers’ compensation lawyer will protect your rights and help you get the funding you need. Here are a few ways an attorney can tilt the scales in a client’s favor.
Developing Vocational and Medical Evidence
Insufficient evidence is the most common reason for the denial of workers’ compensation claims. Even if a claim is approved, you’re more likely to get the necessary treatment—as well as all the other benefits to which you are entitled – if there’s enough evidence to support the case. Local Workers Compensation Lawyers can develop evidence by:
• Finding medical records
• Recommending treatment with doctors
• Getting medical opinions from your doctor and independent medical examiners
• Providing representation during depositions
• Deposing medical practitioners
Several types of evidence are used in workers’ compensation cases, including:
• Testimony from vocational experts
• Statements from family members and friends about your daily activity level
• Evidence of an employer’s workplace safety and training histories
Experienced workers’ compensation lawyers know, based on a case’s weaknesses and strengths, which pieces of evidence are needed to maximize the chance of a favorable outcome.
Negotiating Settlement Agreements
When it is time to bargain with an employer’s insurer, a workers’ compensation attorney can estimate the value of a case based on factors like:
• The severity of the injury and resulting limitations on mobility and performance
• Past and future medical expenses
• A victim’s impairments and the potential for permanent disability
• Whether the employer owes the victim for wage loss
Attorneys understand the tactics and tricks used by insurers, from low offers to stonewalling. With very few exceptions, these lawyers are more likely to negotiate successfully with insurers than those acting alone.
A workers’ compensation lawyer can ensure that a settlement agreement is written correctly, which avoids adverse consequences. Lawyers can also form reasonable estimates of future medical bills, so they’re included in a settlement agreement.
While a workers’ compensation judge must approve a settlement, it’s not wise to count on them to protect your rights. During settlement negotiations, a lawyer’s assistance is invaluable.
Representation During Hearings and Trials
If a settlement can’t be reached, the case will proceed to a trial or administrative hearing in front of a workers’ compensation judge. During the investigative process, the attorney may depose witnesses, review a client’s medical records, do legal research, write petitions and responses, and ensure the timely submission of documents. Then, they’ll present a case theory, make closing arguments, and object to an insurer’s improper behavior. If you are dissatisfied with the hearing’s results, your lawyer will help with appeals.
When to Call a Lawyer
If your claim is straightforward and of low value, it may be possible to self-represent. However, it’s important to hire a lawyer if:
• There’s little supporting evidence
• The claim is of high value, or your injuries are severe
• An employer is disputing the claim
• You’re unsure about a settlement offer
• The claim has been denied and you need to file an appeal
If one or more of these apply to you, contact an experienced local workers’ compensation lawyer today.