It’s an unfortunate fact that work-related injuries are commonplace. And it isn’t just those that work in physical labor who experience an accident while at work. Every 7 seconds, an employee is injured on the job. Think about that: every 7 seconds!
And while these injuries vary in severity, and some types of injuries are more common than others, each injury should be treated respectfully and with consideration. Often the emotional or physical effects of an injury don’t show up in full force for days, weeks, or even months after the injury has taken place.
This is why it’s so important to consider getting legal advice from an experienced workers’ comp attorney.
Before you hire an attorney, however, consider noting the following questions as ones that you’ll want to discuss:
Is a Workers’ Comp Attorney Needed for My Situation?
The first question to ask a workers’ comp attorney is if your case warrants their assistance.
If your on-the-job injury required little more than a bandage and taking off of work early for the day, you probably don’t need the help of a lawyer. This doesn’t mean that simple injuries and the missed work or medical bills that add up, as a result, don’t count. If you filed a claim that was denied and you had to pay your own medical bills due to temporary disability, you can seek the advice of a workers’ comp attorney.
Definitely seek out an attorney’s advice if your work-related injury caused permanent impairment. Insurance benefits make it their job to pay out as little as they can to those who file a claim. If, as an injured employee, you’ve experienced a permanent disability, you’ll likely benefit from some sound legal advice.
Regardless of your circumstances, it doesn’t hurt to start by asking if your situation is one that a workers’ comp attorney can help you with. Most of them offer free consultations as part of their services.
What if the Accident Was My Fault?
With the exception of accidents that occurred as the result of extreme behavior (think drug or alcohol related), a workers’ compensation claim can be filed, even if the employee is responsible for the accident. An injury may be the result of negligence on the part of yourself, another employee, or a manager, but you’re still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
A workers comp lawyer can take a look at your case and tell you what kind of benefits you can expect, even if you’re at fault.
Should I Tell the Claims Administrator Everything?
The claims administrator’s job is handling all the workers’ compensation claims for the insurance company. You’ll be expected to speak with them as the injured worker so you can verify the details about the injury.
This is where you need to be cautious. Avoid saying something to the claims administrator that could be held against you, misinterpreted, or that would harm your case.
When possible, speak with an experienced workers’ comp attorney before sharing details with the claims administrator. This can help you avoid any problems that will result in your claim being denied. In many situations, it might be best to allow your attorney to speak with the administrator on your behalf.
What Should I Tell My Doctor About the Accident?
It’s very important that you tell your doctor the truth about your work-related accident. Don’t leave out any important details as to why the accident occurred. Tell him or her about how your injuries are affecting your life. This might include details about how you have been unable to perform your normal job functions, or you can’t sit or stand comfortably since your injury, etc.
Again, it’s always helpful to speak with your attorney first so they can help you prepare for your appointments with your doctor. By giving your doctor all the details about your accident, there will be records that can come in handy if you have to present your case in court.
Do I Have Continue Working?
A good attorney can help you determine if you’re legally obligated to continue going to work or performing your typical duties on the job. Your physician might place temporary restrictions on your ability to work due to your injuries. It’s important that you heed your doctor’s orders.
If your employer is unwilling or unable to accommodate your current work-related restrictions, you might be eligible for temporary disability benefits. This is something your workers’ comp lawyer can assist you with.
How Do I Know if My Case Will Go to a Hearing?
It’s difficult to say for sure if your claim will end up in court. Some time will be spent negotiating between your attorney and the claims administrator. After this has taken place, your lawyer will be able to let you know if your claim needs to move toward a hearing.
Most cases can reach a settlement outside of the courtroom, which is good news for clients who already have plenty to worry about regarding their injury.
How Long Will a Settlement Take?
If your the results of your injury are long-term or even permanent, be patient about reaching a settlement. You want to be sure that your attending physician has had ample time to monitor your injury for long-lasting effects. You don’t want to settle a claim prematurely before you know how much your injury will cost you in bills, time off of work, inability to work, therapy, and so on.
Your attorney will be able to counsel you in this matter and help you have patience as you move toward a settlement at the appropriate time.
Hire the Right Help
Knowing what to ask before hiring a workers’ comp attorney is an important first step. Equally important is hiring an attorney that has experience helping others in a similar situation as your own. Hire someone you can trust to guide you through the process.
We invite you to get to know one of our experienced attorneys by giving us a call and setting up a consultation. We’re here to help.