Is a Lawyer Needed to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
If you’ve been injured at work and are planning on filing for workers’ compensation benefits, you may be wondering if you need to hire a lawyer. While there are certain situations where you can probably represent yourself, it’s often in your best interests to at least seek legal guidance from a skilled attorney.
Situations where you may be able to get the benefits you need without a lawyer include minor workplace injuries, injuries that require you miss no work, or accidents where your employer has admitted the injury happened at work. Even if you fall into a situation like that, there are still benefits to having a lawyer help you with your claim. Let’s take a look at the possibility of complications arising during the claims process.
Common Workers’ Compensation Claim Complications
While there are some workers’ compensation claims that are cut and dry, that doesn’t happen often. In a number of circumstances, it’s best to have a lawyer representing you when filing your claim. They will not only protect your rights, but they’ll work to ensure you have full access to the benefits you need to recover.
Your employer denies your claims.
It’s not uncommon for an employer or a workers’ comp insurer to reject a claim. Often times, the hope is that the injured party will fail to file an appeal. Denials are often on the grounds that the injury wasn’t work related or the claim was filed too late. When you have a lawyer backing you, filing an appeal is an easier process. They’ll have the legal tools needed to file the paperwork, gather evidence, and present your case at the hearing.
Your medical issues affect your ability to work.
If you’ve suffered a permanent injury, whether partial or total, you may be entitled to weekly payments to make up for your lost wages. Depending on the severity of your injury, your doctor may allow you to return to work in a limited capacity. If, however, your injury prevents you from being gainfully employed ever again, you’ll want to maximize the benefits you’re eligible for.
The settlement offer doesn’t cover all your expenses.
If the settlement offer from your employer doesn’t cover all your accident-related expenses, relying on a judge to get a fair deal isn’t the best call. While workers’ comp settlements must have judicial approval, most judges will sign off an agreement that isn’t blatantly unfair. To ensure you get all the compensation you’re entitled to, contact a lawyer.
Your boss retaliates against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
It’s illegal for an employer to fire you, demote you, cut your hours, reduce your pay, or engage in any other form of discrimination because you filed a workers’ comp claim. Working with a lawyer may be the only way to protect your rights.
You were injured as a result of negligence.
The workers’ compensation system reduces the number of civil lawsuits filed for work-related injuries. That doesn’t mean, however, you are not allowed to sue outside of workers’ comp. If, for example, a negligent party contributed to the cause of your accident, your employer doesn’t have insurance, or your employer intentionally caused your injury, an experienced lawyer can guide you through a lawsuit.
Understanding Your Attorney’s Duties
When you seek representation from a workers’ comp lawyer, there are a number of duties and tasks they’ll take on to ensure your claim is successful. Their goal is to help you obtain the benefits and compensation you need to recover from your injuries.
Some of the typical job functions your lawyer has include collecting medical evidence and records, collecting statements from physicians and other medical experts, performing legal research, staying up-to-date with relevant law changes, drafting pleadings and other legal documents, and litigating your case before a judge—if necessary.
Through the process, they’ll answer your questions, guide you through the workers’ compensation process, assist you with benefits, communicate with your employer and the insurance company, and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
To improve your chances of success, make sure your attorney has these essential legal skills:
- Extensive litigation experience
- Working knowledge of workers’ compensation laws
- Excellent research skills
- Strong oral and written communication skills
- Ability to negotiate
- Technology skills
Even if you think your workers’ comp claim is simple, there’s no harm in getting a lawyer’s opinion. There may be possible complications with your claim you hadn’t thought of. The lawyers at Prince Law Firm specialize in having a comprehensive understanding of the laws that apply to your situation. Maximize your chances of receiving full compensation by contacting our firm today.
2020 Illinois Law Changes