Injured workers who try to handle their work injury cases without an attorney often forfeit their rights, leaving money and future benefits on the table. It is possible to handle a worker’s compensation case without hiring a work injury attorney if the injury is minor and there is no significant lost time from work. Serious injuries that have lasting consequences, result in high medical bills, prevent the victim from returning to work, or involve third-party negligence typically require the assistance of a work injury attorney.
What Does a Work Injury Attorney Do?
A work injury attorney helps injured workers obtain fair compensation for their injuries. To ensure the victim receives appropriate benefits and a proper settlement, the workers’ compensation lawyer will:
- Help guide the injured worker through the workers’ compensation process
- Evaluate the worker’s case to ensure no benefits are overlooked
- Represent the worker’s interests at legal proceedings, including depositions, hearings, mediations, arbitrations, oral arguments, etc.
- Assist the injured party with obtaining compensation, benefits, and access to appropriate medical treatment
- Communicate with the wounded worker’s employer regarding the victim’s status
- Negotiate settlements that will benefit the injured worker
When to Consider Hiring a Work Injury Attorney
Workers who experience a minor injury like a sprained ankle, a cut requiring stitches, or a minor burn may not need an attorney to represent them. This is generally true if the worker does not run into a problem with their employer’s insurer covering the cost of their medical treatment, a complete recovery is expected, and the worker does not need to take a significant amount of time off from work.
Even injured workers who suffer seemingly minor injuries, however, should take advantage of a free consultation with an attorney to better understand their rights and receive a case review of what they may be entitled to receive through workers’ compensation or third-party injury claims.
When the injury requires surgery or ongoing medical treatment, results in long-term or permanent disability, or the worker has pre-existing conditions, the value of a claim can rise significantly. To protect their bottom line, insurance companies will typically try to minimize payouts or even deny these types of claims. Without help from an attorney, claimants are often cheated out of money for future medical treatment, lump-sum payouts, and vocational rehabilitation.