You’ve been hurt while at work. You don’t know how you’re going to pay the medical bills or support your family if you can no longer work. You’re not sure if you need a lawyer, and your loved ones are also unsure. What should you do? Keep reading for advice on how to determine the best course of action for your situation. First thing’s first: always get your work status in writing from the doctor and keep a copy for your records.
Severity of the Injury
A minor injury with routine medical treatment and little or no lost time can usually be handled without a lawyer. But if your injury is severe or keeps you out of work for a period of time, then you are more likely to get the proper medical care and compensation if you are represented by a lawyer.
If your employer seems to be angry at you for getting hurt, refuses to send you to a doctor, or won’t report your injury to their insurance carrier, this can cause problems and delays and may even cause your claim to be denied. If you have a non-cooperative employer, it is a good idea to consult a lawyer with experience in workers’ compensation law.
Referral to a Specialist
Referral to a specialist, such as to an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon, generally means your injury is severe enough that you would benefit from retaining a lawyer.
Refusal to Pay Weekly Benefits
If you are unable to work and are not getting weekly benefits, you should consult a lawyer.
Denial of Medical Treatment
If your employer won’t send you to the doctor when you get hurt or the insurance company refuses to authorize treatment, (such as a referral to a specialist, diagnostic testing such as an MRI, physical therapy, a pain clinic or a second opinion), you should talk to a lawyer about helping you get the treatment you need.
Loss of Earning Capacity or Permanent and Total Disability
If your work injury leaves you unable to work or unable to earn what you earned before you were injured, the issues are often complicated and confusing and such cases are best handled by a lawyer. If before concluding your Workers’ Compensation claim you received or applied for other types of disability benefits, such as Social Security Disability, or are a Medicare recipient, you should consult an attorney about protecting your other disability benefits.
If your claim is denied by your employer or their insurance carrier, you will most likely need a lawyer to help you prove your case. Some denied cases involve legal issues best handled by an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
If you have a permanent problem as a result of your injury, permanent restrictions, or if you are unable to return to the type of work you usually do, a lawyer will help you secure fair compensation.
Third Party Injury or Defective Machines
If you have been hurt on the job by someone who does not work for your employer, you may be able to bring a separate lawsuit in addition to your workers’ compensation claim. When you may have both a workers’ compensation claim and a third party claim, you should consult an attorney.
Getting a Fair Settlement
Consult a lawyer before you settle your case to learn your options to determine if you are being treated fairly, and to discuss if you would benefit from representation. If your case does not settle and you have to go to a hearing, you may benefit from having a lawyer represent you who can help you get the evidence you need for the best outcome of your case.
Do not hesitate to call us if you think you can use our help. Also, please call if you have questions, concerns or worries regarding any legal matter. A lawyer can answer your questions, explain your rights, put some of your fears to rest, and help you decide if you would benefit from having representation. We will be glad to help you at Smith & Jones Law, LLC, even if it is finding someone else to assist you in any matter that we do not handle.