Navigating Workers Comp Claims
Since employers carry workers compensation insurance, you may think you do not need an attorney for a workers compensation claim. Depending on the circumstances, you may not need a lawyer. If you suffered a minor injury and did not miss much or any work, you would not need a lawyer. When your employer agrees that your injury occurred at work, you may also not need an attorney's help.
What Types of Situations Often Require Legal Help?
Here are a few reasons you should consider hiring a lawyer:
- Pre-existing conditions. If you injured the same body area where a pre-existing injury existed (a back injury for example), you may need help showing that your disability was caused by the recent work injury.
- Denied claim. If your employer denies that your valid claim resulted from work injury, you will need to appeal. An attorney can help you get a fair settlement. In some instances, an employer may even retaliate against a worker for filing a claim. It is vital to contact a lawyer if you are demoted, fired, paid less or have your hours cut as a result of filing a claim. An attorney can help protect your rights.
- Unfair settlement. In some instances the settlement being offered is not sufficient to cover your medical treatment or lost wages. To prevent this from occurring, an experienced attorney can argue on your behalf and negotiate a higher settlement.
- Limited or no ability to work after injury. Some injuries leave the worker disabled and not capable of doing the same job. Or, perhaps the injury limits the amount of time a worker can spend sitting or standing at a job. With a partial or total disability that results from a work injury, workers may recover weekly payments or a lump sum to compensate them for lost wages. Generally, an insurance company will fight against this type of claim, which is why having a lawyer can be invaluable.
The NY State Workers Compensation Board website has more detailed information that can answer questions you may have about workers compensation claims.
What Advantages Do Workers Compensation Lawyers Offer?
An attorney can help you file your claim and gather the necessary documentation to support your case. In addition, a skilled workers compensation lawyer will handle negotiations with the insurance company and can request a hearing, if necessary. If third party negligence resulted in your injury, your attorney can also help you sue and recover compensation from the responsible party.