5 Reasons to Always Hire a Lawyer for a Workers’ Comp Claim
If you have sustained an injury on the job, you may wonder if you have reason to hire a lawyer for a workers’ comp claim.
In short, the answer is YES.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “Over 78,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported among Georgia’s private industry employers in 2019, resulting in an incidence rate of 2.5 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers.”
While these 78,000 were nonfatal, “41,600 were of a more severe nature, involving days away from work, job transfer, or restriction—commonly referred to as DART cases.”
Work injuries occur often enough for the State of Georgia to have an entire set of legislation devoted to it.
Plus, there is a whole division of insurance dedicated to these needs (workers’ compensation insurance companies).
Understanding the ins and outs is reason enough to hire a lawyer for a workers’ comp claim.
Lawyers with specific expertise in workers’ comp could have helped the 78,000 workers who suffered from on-the-job injuries in Georgia receive just compensation.
However, many of these workers attempted to do it on their own. They may have felt as if working with a lawyer would have been unpleasant or a waste of time.
I get it. There are some attorneys out there who have given us all a bad reputation.
For the most part, workers’ comp lawyers have your best interest at heart and will fight insurance companies to get you what you deserve.
Having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side not only makes the claim process easier, but it also ensures you get the best treatment possible so you can recover faster.
Accidents do happen. The pain of your injury is enough to deal with, without having to worry about hospital bills, expenses, and missing work.
All the more reason to hire a lawyer for a workers’ comp claim.
Here are five more reasons.
#1 Improve Negotiations with the Insurance Company
As much as we’d like to believe the insurance company wants the very best for us, we all know that’s not true.
Ultimately, insurance is a business. As such, they prioritize profits over people.
They will do everything they can to avoid paying benefits – even those you justifiably deserve and are entitled to.
Sometimes, they will contest a claim and suggest it wasn’t work-related (so they won’t have to pay).
Other times, they will use the excuse of pre-existing conditions to deny people workers’ comp (so they won’t have to pay).
That’s not all. Insurance companies pay nurse case managers to interfere with your medical treatment and to convince the authorized treating physician to limit your medical care and release you back to full-duty work as soon as possible (again, so they won’t have to pay).
This type of underhanded behavior is why insurance companies shake in their boots when an employee hires a workers’ comp lawyer.
Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney not only makes the claim process easier, but it also ensures you get the best treatment possible, with the maximum benefits and the maximum settlement at the end of your claim.
#2 Help for When an Initial Claim Is Denied
If you suffer a workplace injury and submit a workers’ compensation claim, it doesn’t mean it will automatically be accepted.
Many initial claims are denied by insurance companies.
That’s one of the main reasons to hire a lawyer for a workers’ comp claim.
Some people mistakenly accept the denial and don’t fight it. But, you have a right to seek a clear reason for the denial and then to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
This will involve litigation, such as the insurance company’s lawyer asking you questions (a deposition).
Having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer represent you at the hearing is a good idea because an attorney will protect your rights, will make the process smoother and less stressful, and will help you win your case.
You should never go to court without a lawyer to represent you!
#3 Strengthen Your Chances of Getting Maximum Benefits under the Law
Under Georgia law, employers with at least three employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance so that, in the event of a workplace injury, workers can be compensated for medical treatment, rehabilitation, income benefits, and payment for permanent disability.
The key word here is “insurance.”
Workers’ compensation insurance means battling with insurance companies to receive just compensation for medical treatment, rehabilitation, income benefits, and payment for permanent disability.
As we mentioned before, insurance companies don’t want to just give away money. They are in the business of making money.
As a result, they may not give you what you deserve. And we’re not just talking about money.
Insurance companies can also push doctors to release patients to go back to work before they are really able.
Ultimately, you want someone in your corner who will fight for you – especially during a time when you don’t feel like fighting.
That’s another reason to hire a lawyer for a workers’ comp claim in Georgia.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney understands the complexities of this area of the law and how to speak to insurance companies.
An attorney will be able to represent you and get you what you are entitled to as a result of a workplace injury.
You don’t want to look back years down the road and realize you could have (and should have) received more workers’ comp benefits or a much higher settlement.
#4 Increase Your Chances in Court
If your claim is denied, this is a major reason to hire a lawyer for a workers’ comp claim.
In this situation, you have the right to present your case in front of a judge. There are no juries in workers’ compensation trials.
You do not want to go through this process without an experienced lawyer.
This process can involve several proceedings, negotiations, medical exams, and more.
If you are not able to resolve your issues with the insurance company out of court, the judge will schedule a hearing where you can present your case.
During this hearing, you will have to present evidence and legal arguments to justify why you deserve workers’ comp benefits.
That’s a lot of work for someone who is already dealing with a tremendous amount of stress and physical and financial complications in their life. Let alone someone who doesn’t have a law degree.
That’s why it is so important to have an attorney represent you when you go to court.
It is a proven fact that injured workers represented by experienced workers’ compensation lawyers get significantly more benefits and significantly higher settlements than people who don’t have someone in their corner.
Note – There are times when your case may actually be more than one case – a workers’ comp claim and a personal injury claim or employee retaliation case, so you want to have an attorney who can spot those other claims.
#5 Pass Off the Paperwork
One of the most grueling parts of dealing with a workers’ comp claim is the complicated paperwork.
Filing your workers’ comp claim requires a special form to be filed with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
This area of the law is very form-based, and it is easy for someone who is not experienced to get the forms, their significance, and any filing deadlines confused.
For instance, missing a filing deadline could result in missing out on compensation or having your case be forever barred.
An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer will know which forms to file, how to appropriately complete them, and when to file them.
You’re worrying about enough since your injury. Why add mountains of complicated paperwork to the list?
If you’ve been injured on the job, contact us today for a free, no-strings-attached consultation.