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.

A worker injures himself on the job

Steps To Understanding A Workers Compensation Claim

Qualifying For Workers’ Compensation

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.

Negotiating Workers’ Compensation

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.

Maximizing Settlement

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.

Why Employers Fight Claims

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.

injured worker falls at work

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?

What Are Common Workplace Injuries?

What Happens If It Is A Catastrophic Or Fatal Workplace Accident?

What Does a Workers Comp Lawyer Charge?

What Does a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Do?

Can You Work And Get Workers’ Compensation?

How Much Can You Get In A Workers’ Compensation Case?

What Types Of Benefits Can Be Included In A Workers’ Compensation Claim?

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