Technically, you don’t have to hire a workers comp lawyer when filing a workers comp claim. But having one can increase your chances of getting the benefits you rightfully deserve.
Remember that your employer or insurance company most likely have their own legal team. Going against a team of lawyers on your own, especially if you’re not that versed with the law, won’t be that easy. Not to mention that some employers force injured workers to accept a settlement that’s way below what they’re entitled to.
If you’re still on the fence about hiring a workers comp lawyer, here’s what you need to know to help you make up your mind.
What Does a Workers Comp Lawyer Do?
As the name suggests, a workers comp lawyer specializes in workers compensation cases. They help employees who got injured on the job get compensation for their injuries, such as medical and lost wages benefits.
The job scope of a workers comp lawyer is wide and varied. But in a nutshell, they are the ones who will do the legal legwork for you until you get your workers comp benefits. This usually includes:
- guiding you throughout the entire workers compensation process
- gathering medical evidence and medical records
- performing legal research
- negotiating with your employer or insurance company
- helping you file an appeal should your claim get denied
- completing paperwork related to the case
- drafting pleadings and other legal documents
- representing you in court during hearings and mediations
Aside from the above, your lawyer can also help you look for witnesses and other pieces of evidence that will strengthen your claim. If a third party is involved in the accident, they can also advise you about third-party claims and other benefits you are eligible for.
How a Workers Comp Lawyer Can Help Your Case
As mentioned, hiring a workers comp lawyer will be advantageous for you. Here’s how a workers compensation attorney can help your case:
1. They make the workers comp process easier.
As you probably know, the workers compensation process involves a rather complicated legal process. If you’re not familiar with the law or how the process works, getting compensation for your work injuries can be really stressful.
This is one of the primary reasons why you need a workers comp lawyer. They’re more familiar with the law and know the ins and outs of your state’s workers compensation system. As such, they can guide you and advise you on what to do, making the process a lot less complicated.
2. They increase your chances of getting approved for benefits.
Since they know the law very well, hiring a workers compensation lawyer will increase your chances of winning your case. Besides, they’ve most likely handled several cases like yours before. So they’ll know what types of evidence will strengthen your claim and how to best present your case before an administrative law judge.
3. You’ll get your benefits faster.
If you got injured on the job and have to miss time from work, the bills can easily pile up. Between the medical expenses and putting food on the table, making ends meet is usually a challenge. This is why it’s crucial to get your compensation benefits as fast as possible.
Unfortunately, many employers and insurance companies are known to routinely deny workers compensation claims. Then you will have to go through the appeals process and sometimes a workers compensation hearing. All these can take months and even up to a couple of years. By the time you get your benefits, you’re probably neck-high in debt.
But with a workers comp lawyer, you’ll have a higher chance of getting approved during the initial application. This means you don’t have to go through the appeals process or wait for months for the judge’s decision. You’ll be able to enjoy your benefits earlier making it easier to manage medical bills and other expenses.
4. They can help you negotiate a more favorable settlement.
It’s not uncommon for employers or insurance companies to take advantage of an injured worker’s lack of knowledge on workers compensation laws. As a result, most of them agree to a settlement without knowing that they’re entitled to so much more.
A workers comp lawyer can help you avoid a similar fate. Because they know the provisions of the law, they can more accurately estimate how much benefits you should receive.
5. You won’t have to worry about paperwork.
There’s no denying that filing a workers compensation claim involves mountains of paperwork. Having a workers comp lawyer can help you avoid all that headache of filling up forms and drafting pleadings and affidavits. They’ll take care of that for you in addition to gathering evidence and talking to your medical providers.
When Should You Hire a Workers Comp Lawyer?
Though it’s advantageous to hire a workers comp lawyer, not all cases need one.
If you’ve only suffered a minor injury and you have a good relationship with your employer, there’s a good chance your claim will be approved without the help of a lawyer. The same can also apply if:
- you did not miss work very much
- you don’t have a pre-existing injury or illness
- your employer admits that the injury is indeed work-related
But its highly recommended to hire a workers comp lawyer if:
- there is doubt that your injury is work-related
- your employer denied your claim
- your medical condition prevents you from going back to work
- the settlement offer you received did not include all your medical bills and lost wages
- a third party or co-worker contributed to the accident where you got your injury
- you plan to apply for Social Security Disability benefits
- you were penalized or fired for filing a workers comp claim
Cost of Hiring a Workers Comp Lawyer
There’s this popular misconception that hiring a workers comp lawyer will cost a lot of money. But the truth is workers comp lawyers get paid on a contingency basis. Meaning, they only get to charge fees when your case is won.
Besides, most states put a cap on lawyer fees for workers comp cases. In some states, workers compensation lawyers can only charge no more than 25% to 30% of the settlement amount. Though in practice, most lawyers only receive 10% to 20%. If the case reaches court, the judge will usually determine how much lawyer fees should be deducted from your benefits.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.
Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.