If you or someone you love are injured at work, you should be able to count on workers’ compensation insurance to cover your medical bills and most of your lost income. One of the great things about workers’ compensation insurance is that it is a “no-fault” system. This means that a worker can usually receive benefits even if they are partially completely at fault for their injuries.
Not every injured worker will need a workers’ compensation attorney to help them with their case. However, there are times when hiring an attorney may be necessary.
Cases in which you likely do not need an attorney
If your work injury is relatively minor and you are likely to recover quickly, you likely will not need an attorney. Insurance companies will usually not dispute claims that clearly happened at work, are not very serious, and will not involve long periods of time away from work.
Why you may need a workers’ compensation attorney
There are times when a dispute between an injured worker and their employer (or the insurance carrier) may arise. When this happens, you may need to gather evidence to challenge the employer or insurer’s position. This could include taking depositions, requesting an independent medical evaluation, and hiring expert medical witnesses. All of this requires help from an experienced Orange County workers’ compensation attorney.
You may need help from a workers’ compensation attorney in the following circumstances:
- Your claim is denied. The insurance company denies your claim, consider getting an attorney immediately. The insurance company may deny your claim if you reported the injury too late or if the facts of the case are in dispute. A denied claim will likely require you to go through the appeals process to receive your compensation.
- Your disability rating is disputed. Long-term disability benefits are based on your permanent disability rating period. If the insurance company does not agree with the rating your doctor gave you, they may require you to undergo an independent medical examination (IME). This will likely result in a much lower disability rating, and you may need to secure an attorney to help in this situation.
- You have a preexisting condition. Having a pre-existing medical condition does not mean you should be denied for an injury that happened at work. Even if a work injury does aggravate a pre-existing condition, you should still be entitled to benefits.
- You are having trouble receiving treatment. If the insurance company denies or delays a person’s claim, this can lead to them not receiving the treatment they need, Including expensive surgeries. A workers’ compensation attorney can put pressure on an insurance company to improve necessary treatments.
- Your ability to work has been affected. If your injury will prevent you from working temporarily or permanently, securing an attorney will help ensure you receive the maximum benefits under the workers’ compensation pay structure.
- You are having a workers’ compensation hearing. If you end up in a workers’ compensation hearing against the insurance company, this is like a mini-trial in which an attorney will need to be present.
- Your injury was the result of a third party. If a work injury was caused by a third party, outside of your regular company, you could be entitled to significant compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.