If you have suffered injuries in the workplace, you might be eligible for monetary benefits through a workers’ compensation claim. Some claims are simple, involving only minor injuries and little or no time off of work to recover. If your injuries are severe, you may have a more complex claim, and you may need the assistance of an attorney.
When You Should Hire a Lawyer for a Workers’ Compensation Claim
The more serious your injuries, the more complicated your claim may be. If you have major medical expenses, require rehabilitation services, or are temporarily or permanently disabled and unable to work, you may need a lawyer on your side.
Because each state’s workers’ compensation system is different, benefits for the same injuries can vary widely from place to place. If any obstacles present themselves in the development of your claim (such as receiving unfair settlement offers), an attorney can help you fight for a better settlement.
Reasons for a Possible Denial
The insurance industry is a business. The less money an insurer can pay out in claims, the more profitable it may be for the insurance company. It is in your employer’s best interest to keep their premiums down. For these reasons, your employer and their insurer might attempt to deny or underpay your claims. Your employer may try to argue that:
- Your injury did not happen in the workplace.
- A pre-existing condition caused your injury.
- You did not file your claims in a timely fashion.
- You filed your claim after you quit your job or faced termination.
- Your own reckless or negligent behavior caused your injuries.
- Workers’ compensation laws do not cover your injuries.
If a potential settlement does not cover your expenses, an attorney may be able to help you negotiate for a better outcome. If you face any challenges getting the financial recovery you need, you should consider hiring a lawyer for help with your workers’ compensation claim.
An Attorney Can Work to Make Sure Your Benefits Take Care of Your Needs
Workers’ compensation insurance pays four types of benefits. Exactly how much money you can receive will vary based on the nature and severity of your injuries, the time you need to recover, your previous wages, and your state’s workers’ compensation laws.
What Benefits You Can Pursue
Benefits you can seek include:
- Disability benefits – These are wage benefits that compensate you if you cannot work during your recovery period. If your injuries are temporary, you may receive a percentage of your wages (60 percent, for example) for a period of time while you recover. If your accident has left you permanently disabled, you could receive long-term benefits. If you are able to work part-time while you heal, you may receive a reduced wage combined with a percentage of your previous salary.
- Medical benefits – Usually, medical benefits in a workers’ compensation claim include all of your expenses related to your medical treatment, including copays and deductibles. Generally, there is no set dollar amount you will receive. There may be some restrictions, though, such as limits on the number of doctor or therapy visits you may receive.
- Vocational training – If your injury permanently disabled you, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation benefits. This training will help you learn a new job and seek new employment.
- Death benefits – If your spouse or parent died because of a workplace accident, a workers’ compensation settlement can cover various expenses, such as the cost of their funeral.
If you hire a lawyer for your workers’ compensation claim, they can help you estimate your costs to ensure you receive the appropriate amount of compensation. Your attorney can take into consideration things like travel expenses related to your medical treatments or the need for long-term nursing care.
Receiving Compensation for Pain and Suffering
You cannot receive pain and suffering benefits as part of your workers’ compensation settlement. However, you can sue for pain and suffering in a civil lawsuit. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), in most cases, you cannot sue your employer, but you may be able to file suit against a liable third party. For example, if you suffered injuries while operating a piece of heavy machinery because the machine malfunctioned, you could potentially sue the equipment manufacturer.
Ben Crump Law, PLLC Can Help
If you believe you should hire a lawyer for your workers’ compensation claim, the team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can help. If you would like to learn more about how an attorney can assist you, call our offices at (800) 603-4224 for a risk-free consultation.