An effective workers’ compensation lawyer works with you during one of the hardest times to navigate. Whether you work in an office, a factory, or on the road, it’s not uncommon for people to get hurt on the job.
When that injury causes you to be unable to work, then workers’ compensation could be your saving grace. The idea is that you file a claim for benefits, and some level of financial compensation is afforded to you as you recover.
Steps To Understanding A Workers Compensation Claim
Workers’ compensation falls under the insurance category. While employed, there is usually an insurance package that is offered through employers that directly covers any illness or injury that may happen on the job. This is assuming you were well within the scope of established duties when the unfortunate incident occurred.
An example of being within the scope of established duties is if you are in the construction industry and are injured on a piece of machinery that you use daily, you would be covered
While that example is more sudden, there are also repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome can also be covered under the workers’ compensation umbrella. The key point to note is where you were and what you would have been doing.
Our attorneys handle on-the-job injury claims involving, but not limited to, the following:
- Muscular injuries, broken bones, torn ligaments, torn rotator cuffs, and herniated disks from lifting, pushing, or other actions;
- Sickness from exposure to toxins, including occupational diseases like mesothelioma or Black Lung;
- Head injuries like concussions or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) from falling objects or falls;
- Tendonitis or other repetitive motion injuries;
- Construction accidents;
- Hearing loss or damage;
- Cold and heat stress
- Burn injuries from accidents like electrocution
- Assorted injuries to the back, spinal cord, shoulder, eyes, knees, neck, hip, respiratory organs, ankles, wrists, feet, and hands.
The policy covers seasonal, full-time, and part-time employees, though there may be exceptions. The qualification requirements differ by state, but almost all of them do require it to be in place. Texas stands as the only US state that does not require private employers to purchase workers’ compensation policies, though public entities are required to.
Typically, once you are an employee you are covered. However, probationary requirements sometimes prove different.
Though it may be hard to comprehend, workers’ compensation proceedings often include negotiation, which is just one area that makes the retention of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer so valuable.
This is especially true considering that the said negotiation process is often guided by regulations that must be adhered to. A seasoned legal professional not only maintains an understanding of these but stays up to date when they adjust.
One example is the approval process requirements that you may be unaware of. Typically, when a settlement agreement is reached, the state’s relevant compensation agency must approve it.
Remember that even if you choose to forego an attorney, your employer and insurance companies in question are not going to. Representing yourself in such a scenario would put you at a serious disadvantage and prevent you from getting the full extent of what you deserve.
The ideal process would begin with your worker’s compensation attorney submitting a demand letter detailing the amount desired for the settlement. While it may be accepted, the insurance company is much more likely to make a counteroffer.
These negotiations often carry on for days or weeks at a time. Upon agreeing to a settlement, it’s then sent to the state authority for review and approval.
After a workplace injury, your best chance of maximizing your settlement is to call in a professional. A workers’ compensation attorney understands the legalities of workers’ compensation claims and can calculate the amount you deserve as fair compensation for your injuries.
You have several obligations when seeking workers’ compensation, and your attorney ensures that you meet them. Some of them include:
- Adhering to state and employer guidelines for injury reporting
- Keeping relevant records including conversations, bills, etc.
- Channeling communication to the insurance company correctly
- Getting medical attention in short order and following the guidelines laid out by the doctor
It also helps to understand how you may be evaluated from a disability standpoint. The scale ranges from temporary partial disability to permanent disability. Essentially, the timeline of disability can be temporary or permanent, while the extent of the injury can be declared as a total or partial disability.
A smooth workers’ compensation claim process is the exception and not the rule. You are much more likely to meet resistance from an employer. Of course, this may be hard for you to understand since you may assume that you’d get support in such a situation.
Reputation is one of the main reasons for the pushback. Depending on what happened to you, it may constitute a potentially unsafe work environment. Therefore, current staff morale and the ability to hire and retain quality employees may be impacted.
Sometimes, employers believe that their workers feign illnesses or injuries to financially profit from a workers’ compensation benefits claim. This is especially true if the belief is that the employee wants to be able to earn without working.
Productivity reduction is also a concern here. Depending on the role and the kind of work ethic you have, absence can directly lead to noticeable drops in productivity. Smaller companies are more susceptible to this, and employers may wish to avoid this outcome.
Whenever claims are made, insurance premiums rise, which presents a higher recurring expense to the business. From a pure numeric perspective, the employer may want to keep premiums as low as possible.
Unfortunately, many employees do not go through with a legitimate claim because of a fear of retaliation. One of the most obvious is a fear of employment termination. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer knows that termination or refusal to file a claim has no legal ground on any of the reasons listed above.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer after a Workplace Accident
So far, you see the sentiment of hiring a lawyer being echoed through the information provided. The reality is that workers’ compensation can be highly beneficial to someone who can no longer earn due to a work-related injury. However, compassion is not what you are met with, and it’s hard to defend your interests without the required knowledge base or resources.
Employers are notorious for making it incredibly difficult for their injured employees to access compensation at all, let alone a fair amount. Your personal injury attorney is meant to be your guiding light in such situations.
First, you no longer need to worry about understanding the fundamentals of what to do and how to act in this situation. Instead, the attorney assigns you a series of action items. Once completed, you can rest assured that you have effectively carried out all the required prerequisites to ensure compliance and maximize your chances of an acceptable settlement.
There are many aspects to think about when dealing with a workers’ comp claim. If you are receiving social security disability insurance benefits those benefits could be affected by workers’ compensation benefits.
You can think of an attorney as a legal advocate for personal injury lawsuits. Remember that this is someone who wins when you win, so if nothing else, that is an indicator of the kind of motivated person you have on your side.
Some employers make unfair decisions and use intimidation tactics because they know that affected employees lack the understanding to see through what is going on. Additionally, when someone appears to have control over your livelihood, you may not be too keen on challenging that person’s position.
Well, what if you didn’t have to? Communication is a big part of what a workers’ compensation lawyer does. That means speaking to the insurance companies on your behalf and doing so to your employer too.
On that note, even if you have not yet completed the attorney retention process, if contacted, let the insurance company know that you do not wish to converse without your lawyer.
Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Compensation Claims
A few questions continue to emerge where workers’ compensation is concerned. Though the recommended course of action is always to get the specifics from your attorney, the answers below may give you a high-level understanding.
Who Is Eligible for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Eligibility depends on several moving parts. These include your location, industry, and state laws. Additionally, whatever you were doing when the injury occurred should fall within the scope and requirements of your job.
Typically, state laws require that employers have workers’ compensation insurance in place for their workforce. The exception to this rule is Texas, which only has this stipulation for public entities.
To find out if you are eligible or if you are able to sue your employer for damages, call a workers’ compensation lawyer today for a free consultation.
What Are Common Workplace Injuries?
There is a wide range of workers’ compensation injuries which can range from major to minor injuries. From cuts and bee stings to traumatic brain injuries. They can include physical injuries as well as mental. Here is a collection of a few common workplace accident injuries.
- Head injuries- traumatic brain injury
- Hearing loss
- Amputation- Loss of limb
- Neck Injuries
- Broken Bones
- Repetitive stress injuries
What Happens If It Is A Catastrophic Or Fatal Workplace Accident?
Sadly, there are times when the workplace injury leaves the injured worker with a severe permanent disability or caused their death. This can be an overwhelming and stressful time for both the injured worker and their families. But there are options available if this is the outcome of an injury.
If the injury was fatal there are survivorship benefits to help the loved ones of the deceased worker. Some of the death benefits can include a portion of the departed employees’ weekly pay until a maximum has been met, burial costs, funeral costs, and possibly others.
If the injured employee is left with a severe permanent disability, they also have access to benefits to help them. If the accident resulted in certain long-term or permanent disabilities, injured workers may also be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
What Does a Workers Comp Lawyer Charge?
Your lawyer is retained on a contingency fee basis here. That means, you never really have to worry about payment unless you have won your case. At that point, the payment is calculated as a percentage of the settlement you are awarded.
Therefore, your consultation and all the prep work leading up to the eventual settlement require no upfront payment at all. It’s one of the reasons you have nothing to lose by opting to retain a workers’ compensation lawyer.
What Does a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Do?
Experienced lawyers can help you with the process flow if you were injured and you are being denied your workers’ compensation claim. It’s all about advocating for you and ensuring you get what you are entitled to.
Legal inexperience is one of the key reasons many injured workers never see the settlements they deserve where both money and time off are concerned. Our team must do its best to ensure those settlement proceedings are handled in accordance with the law.
Can You Work And Get Workers’ Compensation?
Earning an income is essential to both survival and comfort. Therefore, people are almost always going to jump at the chance to make a little more whenever possible. Since you are getting workers’ compensation and you have some free time, you may consider taking up another job until it’s time to return to work.
Though doing so may seem like a golden opportunity, you would be setting yourself up for some legal troubles by doing so. First, you should never file a false workers’ compensation claim. If you do so and then are caught working at another job while benefiting from your settlement, criminal charges can be brought against you.
Working at your existing job during the workers’ compensation is not out of the question, provided proper arrangements and modifications are made. It all depends on the evaluation handed down by the medical professional.
These include work restrictions and limits that intend to protect you from exacerbating your injury. The information may come along with adjustments that allow you to work in a modified fashion.
Note that if you have been medically determined to be completely unfit for work, your employer cannot force you to return.
This is more reason for you to have a workers’ compensation lawyer working for you. It’s essential in protecting your rights and providing you with sound advice to base your decisions on.
How Much Can You Get In A Workers’ Compensation Case?
You may be interested in knowing what an average workers’ compensation settlement looks like, so you can know what to expect. However, giving you such a figure would be potentially misleading at best and grossly inaccurate at worst.
That’s because no matter how similar your case may look to another in the past, it all depends on the specifics. Why do you think the data-gathering portion is so important? A few of the critical factors include the severity of your injuries, the totality of your disability, and your expected recovery time frame.
While all these are variables, the workers’ compensation laws must also be considered. Requirements and entitlements defer, although the level of coverage may be broad.
Your best bet is to schedule a free consultation to have your case evaluated on its unique merits. Naturally, your attorney would then have some basis to establish what may be a fair settlement, which is likely going to guide the initial demand of the insurance company.
What Types Of Benefits Can Be Included In A Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Workers’ comp benefits vary greatly depending on the type of accident, the cause of the accident, and the workers’ comp laws for the state the accident happened in. Let’s discuss a few benefits for workers that are commonly included.
Medical Bills: All of your medical expenses should be covered. From an ambulance ride to the hospital to physical therapy to recover, and all medical costs in between.
Lost Wages: While you are recovering and not able to work, you are able to recover lost wages. Depending on your situation, you should be able to get at least a portion of your average weekly pay.
If the work-related accident caused a catastrophic injury such as an amputation, permanent injury, or hearing loss, you can be eligible for a lump-sum settlement as well. It is important to have an attorney who can help you achieve the maximum benefits for your injury.
We Are Ready To Fight For You!
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is a top-tier firm boasting years of experience in personal injury cases, such as those revolving around workers’ compensation. We are simply here to defend your right and prevent exploitation.
To that end, we recommend scheduling a free consultation now, so your case may be evaluated by an expert workers’ compensation lawyer. Our attorneys will help you get the maximum compensation you deserve