How can a lawyer help you with workers’ compensation claims

How can a lawyer help you with workers’ compensation claims

Victoria Pappas
 | 
No matter how careful you are, you may get injured at your job accidentally. 

Unfortunately, some of these injuries can be serious and result in high medical bills or cause you to miss work. If you are injured in the workplace it is important to file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible. 

What is workers’ compensation? 

Also known as workers’ comp or workmans’ comp, workers’ compensation refers to a kind of business insurance that helps employees who have been hurt on the job or develop a work related illness. 

Some examples can include injuries from slipping and falling, muscle injuries from lifting heaving objects, accidents with a car or piece of equipment, sickness from inhaling fumes, or  carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of years of typing. 

The injury must occur at work, while you are working, and it must be within the scope of your employment. This means the injury must be a result of activities that you are reasonably expected to be doing while working.

For example, you might not have a workers’ comp claim if you get into a car accident on your way to work at an office. This is because driving a car is probably not in your job description or a task you are expected to be doing in order to get your job done. 

But, if you are a truck driver or a delivery driver, driving is something you are reasonably expected to do at work and would therefore be in the scope of your employment. But the car accident may not be covered if it was your fault. 

This is where a workers’ comp lawyer would be very helpful. They advise you if your claim is a viable one or not. 

According to Insureon, workers comp usually does not cover: 
  • Stress or other psychiatric disorders
  • Self-inflicted injuries
  • Injuries caused by fighting or horseplay
  • Injuries incurred while committing a crime, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or while violating company policies
Even though your job may provide health insurance, this will not cover an injury or illness that is work related. 

Workers’ comp typically provides benefits after you have gotten hurt or sick on the job. Such benefits can include recovering wages lost due to the illness or injury, covering medical costs, and providing death benefits to families in the unfortunate situation where the employee has passed away. 

Business owners must have workers' compensation insurance in most states. The benefits vary from state to state. Typically, the insurance helps cover the costs associated with the injury or illness and avoiding lawsuits.  Click here to find out more about workers’ comp information in your state. 

What to do when you get injured

It is extremely important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you do not think your injury is that serious. Sometimes an injury or illness may get worse with time and states have strict time limits for bringing a claim. 

Then you should notify your employer right away about the injury and provide any medical documents if available. It is best to notify your employer in writing. 

Most states require that you notify your employer and file a claim within a certain period of time. This time limit is referred to as the statute of limitations. These limitations vary state by state so it is important to check the laws of the state you are in. 

For example, when filing a claim in New York you should immediately get medical attention and you must tell your employer within 30 days of the incident. If you report the injury to your job after 30 days in New York, you might not be able to bring your claim. 

Other states give you more time to notify your employer. For example, Pennsylvania allows you to notify your employer of the injury within 120 days of the incident. 

It is important to seek medical attention, notify your employer, and file a claim as soon as you can or you can risk the claim being denied. 

How a lawyer can help

A lawyer will help you file and receive benefits from your workers’ comp claim. A lawyer representing an employer will try and help lessen the company’s liability to the injured party. 

A lawyer can help you understand how to file your claim, how the process works and guide you through it, and discuss the chances of your claim and benefits getting accepted or denied. 

A lawyer can help you negotiate and work with the insurance company. Insurance companies will likely try to deny your claim or reduce the amount claimed in order to avoid large  payments

In these situations, it is good to have a lawyer negotiating on your behalf. The insurance company and their lawyers will persuade you into a settlement that gives you less benefits than you are entitled to. A lawyer who is experienced in workers’ comp laws and rights will know exactly how to negotiate on your behalf. 

Sometimes, your claim may have a hearing and trial if a settlement is not reached. Again, a lawyer who is well versed in workers’ comp law will be better situated to represent you and give you a better chance of getting the benefits you deserve. 

A workers’ comp lawyer will know the law, judges, and facts. Therefore, they are in the best position to fight for you and your rights in court or while negotiating. 

Lawyers will help with a wide range of tasks regarding your workers comp claim. These tasks can include gathering evidence, conducting research, drafting legal documents, working with the insurance company, and litigate cases in court if needed. 

Though it may be better to hire an attorney as soon as possible, you can also hire a lawyer to help you if your workers’ comp claim gets denied by your employer or the insurance company. A lawyer can start helping you at any point in the process. 

A lawyer can help you appeal the decision by insurance if you are denied benefits or believe you did not get a fair result. Sometimes a valid claim could be denied and your lawyer will advocate for you. 
 
Unfortunately, an employer may retaliate against you after you file a workers’ comp claim. Such retaliation may include cutting wages, hours, or even terminating your employment. In such cases, getting a lawyer is a very good idea. They can help you file claims against your employer directly. 

Sometimes, a work-place accident is very serious and will prevent you from returning to work and you may become permanently partially or totally disabled. In such circumstances you may be able to receive weekly payments or a single lump-sum from workers’ comp insurance to cover wages lost. 

Because these types of cases cost the employer and insurance a lot of money, they may try and find ways to avoid or limit the amount of benefits you get. A lawyer can help advocate for you and fight against such unfairness. 

Although a lawyer may not always be necessary for your workers’ comp claim, it is always a good idea to have an expert on your side.

Lawyers will likely know more than you with regard to these types of claims and the law. They will give you a much better chance of receiving the workers’ comp benefits you are entitled to. 

Lawyers will save you time, energy, and are also less likely to make mistakes on paperwork, which will prevent a lot of future headaches.





This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.
Victoria Pappas

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