Many workers will need to or can benefit greatly from hiring a workers’ compensation attorney.
The following are some examples of when you need to hire a workers’ compensation attorney:
WHEN YOUR CLAIM IS DENIED
Insurance companies deny workers’ compensation claims for a variety of reasons. For example,
the insurance company might claim that your injury was not work-related or that you filed your
claim too late.
YOUR PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY RATING IS DISPUTED
The majority of most workers’ compensation awards are for permanent partial disability benefits.
These benefits are calculated based on your PPD rating. If the insurance company does not
agree with the rating assigned by your treating physician, it can require you to attend an IME
with the doctor it chooses. The IME doctor will most likely assign a much lower disability
rating, which the insurance company will use to justify paying you less in benefits. An attorney
can be essential to obtaining a fair settlement or convincing a Commissioner that you are entitled
to a higher rating.
YOU HAVE A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION
If you have a pre-existing injury or condition involving the same body part you injured at work,
you will be facing an uphill battle with the insurance company. The insurance company will
likely blame your injury on your previous condition rather than your work activities. This is
especially true if your injury has developed slowly over time rather than during a single work
YOU ARE HAVING TROUBLE GETTING TREATMENT YOU NEED
Insurance companies often deny or delay in approving medical treatment especially surgeries.
An attorney can put pressure on the insurance companies to approve the necessary medical
treatments in a timely manner.
YOUR ABILITY TO WORK HAS BEEN AFFECTED
If you can never work again, you will need to maximize your workers’ compensation benefits to
last well into the future. If you need to change careers, you will need to secure training in a new
line of work.
YOU ARE RECEIVING OTHER GOVERNMENT BENEFITS
If you are receiving Social Security Disability Benefits, these benefits may be reduced if you
receive workers’ compensation benefits. An attorney can help you minimize how much your
Social Security Disability Benefits will be reduced.
If you are eligible for Medicare, you may need to set aside a portion of your workers’
compensation settlement to pay for future medical treatment. An attorney can help you do this in
the most advantageous way.
YOU ARE HAVING A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION HEARING
If the insurance company refuses to pay you or authorize treatment, you will need to prove your
case at a hearing. Since this is similar to a mini trial, you will almost certainly need an attorney
to represent you.
IS AN ATTORNEY WORTH THE COST?
Workers’ compensation attorneys do not charge in a typical hourly fashion. Instead they charge
a contingency fee: a percentage of any workers’ compensation benefits they help you recover.
The percentage is generally 20%.
You will likely get a much higher settlement offer when an attorney is involved. Attorneys
understand the law, know how to negotiate and can use various tools to develop your case.
Because of this, you will probably receive more in benefits if you hire an attorney even after the
attorney takes his or her fee.