Five Things You Need to Do When Seeking Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Case

1. Get help!
Many people who are injured at work are embarrassed or simply want to get treatment and get back to work. They want to “move on” as quickly as possible. But did you know that having a lawyer can actually speed the process so you can truly “move on” as quickly as possible.

If you have been injured at work there are a number of reasons to seek legal help. Going it alone might be trickier than you think. Without an expert, it is easy to unknowingly forfeit legal rights you never even knew you had

To further explain, your employer and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation have a right to review your injury and decide if they agree  that you did in fact suffer a workplace injury. Sometimes they agree that yes, you were injured in the workplace and sometimes they don’t. Even if they do agree, they may not agree as to the extent of your injuries or to the dates you missed from work following the injury. To further complicate matters, your medical providers may have described or coded your injuries differently than the injuries acknowledged or accepted by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (a common mistake). This might result in unpaid bills and no pay for days missed from work.

But what if they don’t agree that you were hurt? You might receive an order denying your claim! You might also find yourself alone in front of an Administrative Judge (called a hearing officer) in an difficult hearing!

Keep in mind that your employer most likely has legal counsel and the Bureau of Workers’ compensation also has legal counsel. Why should you be the only one without an advocate on your side?

2. Find an expert
It is important to find an expert who specializes in workers’ compensation cases. In other words, seek out a workers’ compensation lawyer for work injury issues. You would not go a podiatrist to have a tooth pulled. You can bet that the employer will have a lawyer who handles nothing but workers’ compensation cases to represent them. So should you.

Many areas of the law are highly specialized and workers’ compensation is no different. It has its own set of rules and terminology. Many lawyers would be able to learn the rules and terminology if they simply had enough time. But often there just isn’t time, especially when you are off work and the unpaid medical bills start to pile up. That is why it is also important to find a lawyer with experience. They put in the time long before you were ever even hurt.

3. Get a written contract
When you find a lawyer make sure you get a contract in writing with that lawyer. The contract doesn’t need to be complicated but it should set forth how the lawyer is to be paid and how much. Usually this would be what be what is called a contingency. This means the lawyer is only paid if he helps you win your case. This contract should also spell out any expected costs in the case and who is responsible for those costs. Since the rules of professional responsibility strongly encourage clear written contracts between lawyers and clients, an ethical lawyer will insist upon a contract anyway.

4. Establish clear roles and responsibilities with your lawyers
Often these roles are not spelled out in the written contract. For example, when do you need to go to a scheduled hearing or medical appointment. Who will get or receive medical records and how? Who calls your doctor, or your employer and when?

5. Communicate
Lastly, keep an open line of communication between you and your lawyer. If you have a question, pick up the phone and call. Don’t be surprised if you are told your attorney is “in court.” That is a good thing! If his happens, leave a message. If it happens again simply ask for an appointment to meet in person or a time that you might be able to talk by telephone. Usually if you have not heard from your lawyer it means that there is nothing new to report on your case. But, if it has been a while, they should understand that you are simply seeking an update on your case.

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Comments

  1. I like the idea of constantly communicating with your attorney. If you’re injured and have medical bills, those are things the attorney needs to see and have access to as well. Talking with him and making sure you are both on the same page will greatly reduce any stress during the whole process. Thank you for the awesome tips on what to do when filing workers comp.

  2. Your tip to establish clear roles and responsibilities with my lawyers seems like something that I should do for my workers compensation case. Establishing details like who will get medical records and how, or who will call my doctor or employer would be beneficial for my case to spell out with a lawyer. I should go over these things as soon as I can find a good lawyer to help with my case so that we can both be on the same page.

  3. I was injured at work and could really use the help of a lawyer as I file for worker’s compensation. I definitely want to find an expert in that field. Should I consult multiple lawyers before I make my decision?

  4. I’ve found a lawyer I would like to hire to help me with my workers compensation case. I like how you point out that you should get a contract in writing and that it doesn’t need to be complicated. I bet the lawyer already knows this, but I’ll bring it up so the lawyer knows I am serious about winning this case.

  5. I like how you point out that it is important to find an expert lawyer who specializes in workers compensation cases. I have a family lawyer, but I don’t think he’s ever done a workers compensation case. I was injured at work and need someone who can help me claim my benefits from the accident, so I’ll have to do some research and find another lawyer.

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