There were over 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2019 according to theBureau of Labor Statistics. At a rate of 2.8 cases for every 100 full time employees, this unfortunate occurrence happens all too often.
No one plans to be in a workplace injury and when the unexpected happens, it can throw your entire life into chaos. A good lawyer can provide you with an honest assessment of your situation, helping you deal with your claim and plan for your future.
When Should You Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
The first step in figuring out how to hire a great workers’ compensation lawyer is to determine if you need one. Some injuries may be minor enough where you’re able to continue working and a lawyer may not be necessary. If you’re not sure how to proceed, then you should contact a lawyer and get your questions answered.
Situations where a lawyer can be particularly useful:
- Your claim is being disputed or was denied.
- You’re having trouble getting the medical care that you need.
- If you require hospitalization, surgery, or will miss more than 2 weeks of work.
- Your employer wants you to return to work sooner than you are physically able to.
- You have a pre-existing medical condition (an injury that you had before the accident but may have been made worse by it).
- Your employer has retaliated against you for reporting the injury (i.e., fired or demoted you).
Some cases can appear minor and you might think it’s not worth reporting the incident or filing a claim. I like to use a small traffic accident I was involved in as an example:
I was rear-ended at a red light and when we looked at the bumper, there was no visible damage. I didn’t think it was a big deal until a few miles down the road we heard a strange noise coming from under the car. That “strange noise” ended up costing me several thousand dollars in repairs.
If I had a professional advising me in this situation, I’m sure they would have said to document everything.
Even if your case appears simple, it never hurts to get a free, no-obligation case evaluation from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. They can analyze your case and foresee issues down the road that you might not be aware of. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the entire process, we are here to help and you can contact us 24/7.
What Qualities Should I Look For in my Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
Workers’ compensation law varies by state, but it is usually thousands of pages of statutes and case law. Hiring a lawyer who specializes in this area is critical as they will be able to guide you through its complexities. They also know the tactics insurance companies use and can help you avoid mistakes and maximize your claim.
Questions to ask your lawyer before you hire them:
- How many cases of this type have they handled?
- Do they have satisfied client reviews?
- Do they have the resources to take on my case?
- What is the focus of this firm? Do they care about your case?
- Do they understand the specific challenges you are facing after a workplace injury?
The best workers’ compensation attorneys will check off all these boxes. They will also treat you with the respect and dignity you deserve.
What Are The Benefits of Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
When you file your workers’ compensation claim, the insurance company has a team of lawyers on the other end. They will scrutinize your claim looking for any reason they can reduce or deny it. They are not bad people, it’s simply their job - but it does put you at a disadvantage. Having a lawyer on your side can level the playing field and help put your mind at ease during this difficult time.
Benefits of hiring a lawyer:
- They have experience dealing with insurance companies and can help you avoid traps or lowball offers.
- They know the ins and outs of all relevant laws and cases.
- They can help you navigate the timelines and procedural requirements.
- Increases the chances of a higher claim value.
- Increases the likelihood of a successful appeal if your claim was rejected.
An attorney can provide you with peace of mind knowing someone is fighting for you and there to answer your questions. Having an attorney helping you file your claim and document evidence can allow you to focus on what's most important, your recovery. They can help you get the financial and medical support you need and regain a sense of control over your life.
What Should I Do If I Have Suffered a Workplace Injury?
If you or a loved one have suffered from a workplace injury or disease, there are important steps to take immediately.
Have a Plan:
- Report the injury to your employer as soon as possible.
- Ask to see a medical professional and explain to the doctor how you were injured at work.
- Complete a workers’ compensation claim form within the time limit (you can find this out from your state’s workers’ compensation office or one of our lawyers can help you).
- Be wary of signing anything you don’t understand from the insurance company or their adjustor. They are not on your side and you should have your lawyer review them.
How Do I Know If I Qualify For Workers’ Compensation?
Almost every state requires the majority of employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, but there are situations where it is more complicated. Some basic qualifying questions are:
Were you an employee or an independent contractor?
Some employers classify workers as “independent contractors” when they should be employees in an attempt to not provide benefits. If this is your case, you should consult a lawyer as they may be able to prove that you were inaccurately classified.
Was the injury work-related?
In some cases, the insurance companies may claim it was not work-related and attempt to deny your claim. If you believe that the injury was in fact work-related, then you should seek advice from a lawyer.
How Does The Process Work in a Workers’ Compensation Case?
If you have suffered a workplace injury, it is important to follow all the steps of the process to increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
- Report the accident to your employer as soon as possible with as much detail as you can.
- Seek medical attention and get your injury evaluated by a medical professional.
- Many employers require an independent medical examination (IME) by a doctor who is paid by the insurance companies.
- If your claim is denied or you receive an inadequate offer, then you can appeal the decision. You will have to attend a hearing and present your case with supporting evidence.
With so much on the line, having a lawyer on your side from the start can set you up for success. You can feel confident knowing that if you do settle, it is for a fair amount, and not because you were tricked into accepting a bad offer.
Why Choose Morgan & Morgan?
Our entire practice is founded on the idea of protecting everyday people against big corporations.
In life, we often experience one or two powerful moments that impact the direction of the rest of our life. Early on in his life, John Morgan experienced first hand the distress of having a loved one suffer a severe workplace injury, and the hopelessness that followed when their rightful claim was denied. Desperate for help, he hired a lawyer thinking things would get better, but it turns out not all lawyers are created equal.
That experience affected him so profoundly that he promised himself that his family and anyone else he could help would never find themselves in that situation again. Today, Morgan & Morgan has grown to be the largest personal injury firm in America, but we’ve never forgotten our roots. We are a family first firm maintaining the feel of a small firm, but with the resources to take on the biggest insurance companies in the country.
With over 30 years of experience dealing with insurance companies - you can bet they will take you seriously when they see you have us representing you. They know we are not afraid to take your case to trial if they offer you an unfair settlement. With over 30 years of experience, 800 attorneys, and 3,000 team members, we have the resources and expertise to defend your rights.
What is a case like with a dedicated lawyer on my side?
- We explain the entire process of how the workers’ compensation system works.
- We make sure that you don’t miss any filing deadlines and are aware of all procedural requirements.
- We assist you in gathering all necessary evidence to help prove your claim (i.e., identifying witnesses, onsite recordings, and medical records).
- We can help you understand how to talk to your doctor to make sure your workplace injury has the proper medical documentation and also how to handle an independent medical exam (IME).
- If your claim is or has been denied, we can help in the appeals process.
- You won’t need to stand up to the insurance companies on your own, you’ll have a lawyer with years of experience on your side protecting your interests.
- We can help you avoid settling for a lowball offer or being tricked into accepting an offer that might seem good in the moment but likely won’t be enough to cover the long term expenses from your workplace injury.
Is there any financial risk or obligation to me?
We believe that every person deserves the right to an honest assessment of their case and we offer a free, no-obligation case evaluation to anyone who has been involved in a workplace injury. We understand that after a workplace injury, paying for a lawyer may seem out of the question. This is why we offer our services with no upfront cost to you - we only collect a fee if we win. This puts our interests in perfect alignment with yours.