Workers’ compensation is a system that provides benefits following a job-related injury or illness, though getting these benefits can often be a struggle. You want an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer protecting your rights, but what is the role of an attorney in a workers’ compensation claim?
Below, we explore the nature of the workers’ compensation system and how you can benefit from the right legal help.
Workers’ compensation is just as the name implies – compensation for workers who become ill or suffer injuries due to workplace activity. When you suffer a medical condition while doing your job, workers’ compensation should help support your family and your financial needs during the period of recovery and to cover any necessary medical expenses.
Workers’ compensation benefits can include:
The primary purpose of workers’ compensation is to cover your out-of-pocket costs to support you and your household while you recover from the injury or illness.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, which means that you can collect benefits whether it was you or your employer who was liable for the accident or condition that caused your injury or illness. This is a trade-off system in which both the employee and the employer receive a benefit.
The employee can work knowing that if they suffer medical problems, workers’ comp will cover their medical bills and lost earnings. On the other side of the coin, your employer cannot face a lawsuit for the injury, which means you cannot use a lawsuit to seek additional damages. However, if a third party caused the accident or condition and your resulting injury, you can file a lawsuit against them to collect damages that your workers’ compensation won’t cover.
Knowing what compensation is available will depend on the unique facts and circumstances of your situation. Having a workers’ compensation attorney on your side as soon as possible after the accident will help your claim, whether during the initial filing process or throughout an appeal.
A work-related illness or injury does not automatically mean you will start receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Rather, you must file a claim for your benefits, and the insurance company of your employer will process your claim like any other insurance matter.
If the insurance company grants your claim, you can start receiving coverage for your medical bills and your lost wages. Your workers’ compensation attorney can help during this time, increasing the chances of an immediate claim approval and ensuring that you receive the full benefits you need.
If your workers ‘compensation claim receives a denial, it is not the end of the road, though you must proceed through the appeals process.
Common reasons that workers’ compensation insurers issue denials include:
The insurance company adjusters and investigators will carefully scrutinize each claim to find any reason to deny or limit benefits. When you have a lawyer on your side, the insurer cannot use these tactics, as they know that a skilled attorney will challenge unjustified denials.
When you sustain injuries or become ill on the job, you should tell your employer as soon as possible about your injury. Some states have time limits, such as Washington State, which requires notice to an employer within one year of an injury and two years of an illness. You generally do not want to wait that long, as it delays the start of your benefits.
You should also never wait to seek help from a workers’ compensation attorney. The right lawyer can begin handling the claim process right away, which allows you to focus on your physical recovery. You will not have to deal with communications or go back and forth with the insurance company, as your lawyer can handle it all for you.
It is important to remember that the workers’ compensation insurance company of your employer does not work for you, and it does not have your best interests in mind. In fact, these insurers search for ways to minimize or deny payments to claimants whenever possible.
On the other hand, your workers’ compensation attorney does have your best interests in mind, and their objective is to obtain the full benefits you deserve, as well as third-party compensation when applicable. Having an advocate often means that you receive the best possible outcome of your claim.
One of the key benefits of having a workers’ compensation attorney on your side is that they step into your shoes and handle all the negotiations with the insurance company for you. Your workers’ compensation attorney will take over all communications and negotiations with the insurance company and your employer so that you can focus on recovering from your injury or illness.
This includes ensuring that your claim is as complete and accurate and possible and that you include the evidence and information you need to support the acceptance of your claim the first time around. This means you can begin collecting your benefits sooner than later.
A workers’ compensation attorney can work on your behalf for full benefits to cover your medical treatment and lost income from your job-related medical condition. To learn more about the benefits of an attorney, schedule a free consultation with someone in your area today.