Did you know that an employee in the United States is injured on the job every seven seconds? Unfortunately, many of these injured workers will never get the compensation they deserve because they’re nervous about reaching out to a qualified workers comp lawyer.
Without good representation, it’s very difficult to get proper reimbursement. You end up simply dealing with your pain and suffering, lost wages, and ongoing medical bills without the help you deserve.
Attorneys for insurance companies aren’t looking out for your best interest. In fact, their main objective is to settle the case while paying as little as possible. Don’t let this happen to you!
Here are six of the most important things a good workers comp lawyer does to help tip the scales in your favor.
1. Evaluate Your Case
Your first interaction with your worker’s compensation lawyer is typically a free consultation. During this meeting, you will explain exactly what happened that led to your injury.
The attorney will use this information to determine whether you’re eligible for worker’s compensation. Based on the facts, he or she will discuss the potential outcome of your case. This includes the number of benefits you potentially may receive.
2. File Your Claim
In the state of Georgia, you must file your claim with the State Board of Worker’s Compensation. You must also send a copy to your employer and the employer’s worker’s compensation insurance carrier. Once you’ve filed your claim, it will go into the system and you’ll receive a case number.
If you’ve already engaged an attorney, he or she will handle this process for you. Having an attorney reach out to your employer rather than doing it yourself shows that you’re serious. This may also reduce the chances of intimidation or manipulation by your employer.
3. Gather Persuasive Evidence
Having strong medical evidence greatly increases the chances of receiving compensation for the treatment you need. A great workers comp lawyer will gather all of the evidence needed to document the extent of your injury and its impact on your ability to do your job. This often includes (but is not limited to):
- Copies of your medical records
- Treatment recommendations from your physicians and other medical professionals
- Independent medical exams
- Depositions from other medical experts
- Testimony from vocational experts regarding the physical requirements of your job
- Evidence of your employer’s past worker safety violations or inadequate training practices
- Testimony from family and friends regarding your daily activity levels
Your attorney will also represent you when you’re required to appear for questioning during a deposition.
Since lack of evidence is one of the number one reasons for denial of worker’s compensation cases, this service alone often proves to be invaluable.
4. Negotiate Your Settlement Terms
Before your attorney begins negotiating your settlement, he or she will already have a good idea of what your case is worth. This is based on a number of factors including:
- Severity and extent of your injuries
- The physical limitations created by your illness or injuries
- Past and projected future medical expenses
- Whether the disability is permanent, and if so, to what extent
- Previous wages you have lost
- Whether your employer owes you penalties for late payment of lost wages
A good workers comp lawyer understands the tactics that insurance companies use. This helps to protect you from falling prey to lowball offers, bogus “final offers,” and other manipulative attempts to get out of paying you what you deserve.
Your attorney will help ensure that your settlement is structured correctly so you don’t run into any unpleasant surprises in the future.
5. Represent You During Legal Proceedings
If your settlement negotiations don’t go well, the next step is an administrative hearing or trial. Your attorney will guide you through the entire process. He or she will plead your case in front of the judge, including:
- Presenting opening and closing arguments
- Examining witnesses
- Raising objections against the insurance company as needed
If you’re not satisfied with the judge’s decision, your attorney can also assist you in filing an appeal.
6. Advise You on Additional Courses of Action
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, a party other than your employer might also have some liability. If someone else’s negligence caused your injury or illness, your attorney may advise you to file a third-party lawsuit. This commonly happens in the case of auto accidents or when injuries caused by faulty equipment.
Personal injury claims allow you to seek damages for pain and suffering and loss of future wages. This often results in a far higher payout than a worker’s compensation lawsuit.
Your attorney will also let you know if you’re potentially eligible for other benefits. This may include short-term or long-term disability benefits, wage reimbursement, vocational rehab assistance, or Social Security disability benefits.
Tips for Choosing a Good Workers Comp Lawyer
Choosing the right workers comp lawyer can make a huge difference in the outcome of your claim. It’s always a good idea to ask for recommendations from family, friends, and other trusted professionals. Before choosing a lawyer, make sure to do your research online.
Treat your initial consultation like an interview. Ask plenty of questions and make sure you feel comfortable with the responses you get.
Pay attention to your potential attorney’s attitude, professionalism, and knowledge about worker’s compensation laws. Most importantly, always listen to your gut.
Let Bader Scott Injury Lawyers Help You with Your Workers Comp Claim
If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, you don’t have to deal with it on your own. The attorneys at our award-winning law firm are here to help. We’ll listen to the facts, evaluate your case, and advise you on what to do next.
Contact us today using our online request form or give us a call at 678-218-3790 to schedule a free consultation with a workers comp lawyer.
Seth Bader is an Auto accident, Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Atlanta, Rome, Savannah, Norcross, Carrollton, Georgia. He graduated from Florida State University College of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years. Seth Bader believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.