When to Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer
If you sustained a work-related injury, you may be wondering if you should hire a workers’ compensation lawyer. An experienced attorney can prove very useful if you have a pre-existing condition or your employer denies your claim. However, if you have a minor injury with no complications or you missed very little time from work, you may not need a workers’ compensation attorney.
To discuss a workers’ comp claim and the benefits of hiring an attorney, contact Riverview Accident Lawyers. Our Santa Ana workers’ compensation lawyer will answer all of your questions about the workers’ comp system during a free consultation. Call us today at (657) 655-6045.
8 Signs You Need to Hire a Workers Comp Lawyer
Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Was Denied
Many of our clients reach out to us when their workers’ compensation was denied. Your employer or the insurance company may deny your claim if they believe your injury is not work-related or is less severe than stated. They may also deny your claim if they believe you filed too late.
However, you can appeal their decision. A workers’ comp lawyer can help you file the appeal, gather evidence, and represent you at the hearing of your case.
You Suffered a Serious Workplace Injury
Any injury can be considered a work injury, whether it happened after a one-time accident or over time. Most common workplace injuries affect the muscles, tendons, wrists, and hands. A repetitive stress injury (RSI) occurs over an extended period, like carpal tunnel syndrome. Occupational illnesses can come from working in a hospital or a factory where workers are exposed to dangerous chemicals or contagious viruses.
If you suffer a minor injury like a sprained ankle, you probably don’t need to hire a workers’ comp lawyer. On the other hand, if you sustained a serious injury or illness while on the job, you will definitely want to speak to a trained legal professional.
Your Employer Will Not Report the Injury
By law, all California employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance, even if they only have one employee. If your employer fails to report the injury or does not give you a workers’ compensation claim form to fill out, contact a lawyer. They may be trying to hide safety issues or a lack of workers’ comp insurance, which is a serious crime.
You Have a Pre-Existing Condition
A pre-existing condition is a medical condition that you have before your work injury or illness. For example, if you had a previous ankle injury from a fall, your employer may try to deny or limit your workers’ compensation benefits and insist the injury is not work-related.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand your rights, gather medical evidence, and advocate for your benefits.
Your Benefits Are Lower Than Expected
Under California workers’ compensation benefits, you are entitled to fully paid medical treatment, including surgery or other procedures, two-thirds of your pretax gross wage for temporary disability benefits, and a percentage of your wage for permanent disability benefits. If you have been authorized to return to work but you can only do modified work, you may be entitled to supplemental job displacement benefits to help you into a different line of work.
If you suspect your employer is not offering you the full benefits, call a workers’ comp attorney. They will be able to advise you if you are receiving less than what you deserve.
You Were Fired After Reporting Your Injury
In California, it is illegal to fire employees for filing workers’ compensation claims. If you believe this happened to you, reach out to a workers’ comp attorney immediately. If you face retaliation such as reduced hours or a demotion, you should also contact a lawyer.
You Want to Apply for Disability Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits include Social Security disability benefits if you missed work or can no longer work. If your employer or the insurance company is providing medical care but not disability, you may need to obtain legal representation.
Your employer may also try to dispute your disability rating. This rating is intended to reflect the loss of a disabled employee’s earning capacity. The rating ranges from 0% (no disability) to 100% (permanent total disability). Factors that go into the rating are varied and complex. If you sustained a work injury and a temporary or permanent disability, contact a lawyer.
You Have a Third-Party Claim
Typically, injured workers cannot sue their employer or take legal action after a workplace accident. However, if the injury involved a third party who was also liable for the accident, you may be able to file a third-party claim. By filing this type of claim, an injured worker can pursue additional compensation.
An example of when you can file a third-party claim is if a machine or equipment failure caused your workplace injury. The manufacturer can be held liable for your injuries. Examples of compensation that can be recovered in a third-party claim include emotional distress, lost wages, and medical expenses.
When You May Not Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
There are instances where you may not need a workers’ compensation lawyer. If your claim is fairly straightforward and your injuries are not severe, you will likely be able to file a workers’ compensation claim on your own. Here are some reasons why you may not hire a lawyer:
- If your injuries are minor
- If you did not miss any time from work or very little
- If your employer is cooperating and admitted fault
If you still want to seek legal advice, you can always call a workers’ comp attorney and ask for a free initial case evaluation. Most attorneys are willing to give advice and tips on the workers’ compensation process free of charge.
Talk to an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney
If you need help navigating the workers’ compensation system, Riverview Accident Lawyers can guide you through the process and fight for your rights. Our skilled workers’ comp lawyers in California know how to get you the fair compensation you deserve.