In 2022, there were over 30,000 workers’ comp indemnity claims in Georgia. These claims were worth nearly $736 million combined. You could be in for a major payday if you have a workers’ comp claim.
One of the most common questions people ask about the workers’ compensation claim process is if they need a lawyer. Employees can technically represent themselves in a workers’ comp case.
But self-representation is not always advisable. There are many benefits to hiring a lawyer, and they far outweigh the disadvantages. That’s why we are bringing you this guide to the pros and cons of hiring a workers’ comp attorney.
What are the factors to consider when deciding to hire an attorney for your claim? We will talk about the top pros and cons next, so keep reading this article for everything you need to know to make the right decision for you.
Pro: Filing Errors
One of the top reasons insurance companies deny workers’ comp claims is due to filing errors. For example, many workers fail to submit their claims within the filing deadline.
Often, this happens because completing claims paperwork can get complicated. Luckily, many lawyers specialize in the workers’ comp claim filing process. These professionals know how to fill out a claim right the first time.
When you work with an attorney, he or she will optimize your claim. Your lawyer can also help you complete the paperwork faster, so you can submit your claim on time.
Con: Employer Relationships
The state of Georgia has made it illegal for employers to retaliate against workers for filing a compensation claim. However, hiring an attorney to represent your case can still sour your relationship with your employer.
Some employers unfairly view workers who hire workers’ compensation attorneys as disloyal or even aggressive. Employers lose when workers win because they must pay higher workers’ comp premiums as claims increase.
It is valid to be worried about your relationship with your employer. But consider the fact that employers have workers’ comp lawyers, too. It is your right to have legal representation on your side to get the best outcome.
Pro: Higher Settlements
The goal of filing a workers’ comp claim is to get compensated for your losses. Whether those losses be financial or emotional, you deserve to maximize your settlement for your workplace injuries.
Working with an experienced lawyer can help you do just that. A workers’ comp lawyer knows how to fill out your claim optimally. They also know when to take your claim to court if you are not getting the compensation you deserve.
In fact, studies show that hiring a workers’ compensation attorney can increase your payout by at least five times as much as you would have received without legal representation.
Con: No Guarantees
Hiring an attorney can optimize your chances of success. However, there are never any guarantees that your case will be successful or, if it is, that you will receive a large settlement.
A good lawyer will never offer a guaranteed outcome. Every case is different, and success hinges upon the facts of your unique case. The validity of your case’s evidence is more important than whether or not you hire a lawyer.
At the same time, working with an experienced workers’ comp attorney is always better than going it alone. Self-representation is legal in Georgia, but, as we mentioned above, obtaining legal representation maximizes your chances of success.
Pro: Evidence Collection
Speaking of evidence, another reason why hiring a lawyer is crucial for success is that these professionals can help you gather the right proof to make your case. This is crucial, as the following evidence errors can cost you:
- Lacking witness reports from the accident
- Failing to seek medical care immediately after the workplace accident
- Seeking medical care but at an out-of-network facility
A lawyer can help you obtain these essential pieces of evidence for your case. Many workers’ comp law firms have access to medical networks. Their doctors can link your injury or illness to common work accidents that cause them.
Additionally, your lawyer can find people who saw your accident and collect witness testimonies. If there are no witnesses, your lawyer can find video or audio evidence to strengthen your case.
Con: Time and Energy
Hiring an attorney takes much of the burden of filing a workers’ comp claim off your back. But it does not eliminate your responsibilities entirely. You and your lawyer will be partners in your case.
Your lawyer may need assistance with obtaining evidence from your doctor or employer. You may also need to provide regular updates about the status of your injury or illness.
However, any workers’ comp claim requires time and energy, especially if you want to maximize your compensation. Working without a lawyer will take up even more of your time, as you must file all paperwork and attend any settlement talks yourself.
Pro: Contingency Fees
You literally have nothing to lose by hiring a workers’ comp lawyer. That’s because these professionals typically work on a contingency fee basis. In other words, your lawyer’s fee is contingent upon the outcome of your claim.
If you win your claim, you pay for your workers’ comp lawyer’s services out of your compensation award. The amount you pay depends on the percentage specified in the initial representation agreement.
If you lose your case, you don’t pay your lawyer anything. Your attorney agrees to forfeit the cost of his or her services with a contingency fee. This incentivizes your attorney to fight harder for your rights.
These Are the Pros and Cons of Hiring a Workers’ Comp Attorney
Working with a workers’ compensation law firm can help you prevent filing errors and collect more evidence to maximize your compensation. And they can do all that without taking a dime of your hard-earned money upfront.
Now that you know the pros and cons of hiring a workers’ comp attorney, do you need an experienced lawyer near you? HollingtonBrown LLP exclusively represents injured or ill workers like you.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation and find out how much your claim could be worth.