Protecting the Value of your Workers' Compensation Case.
We get calls all the time from folks who have suffered work injuries over a year ago, but never contacted an attorney. The number one mistake being made by many of these
claimants is not calling an experienced attorney right away. An attorney who handles workers’ comp cases, day in and day out, will be able to ensure that their client’s
case is set-up for success from the very beginning.
One example of an issue an experienced attorney can make sure is correct, from day one, is the average weekly wage (AWW). This number is supposed to represent how much an individual makes in
the average week. Down the road, this number is huge part of a settlement or award. Often, someone without an attorney will be stuck with a low number because the insurance company will use
a simple average of weekly pay for the last 52 weeks. However, this isn’t always accurate. If someone is out sick without pay for two weeks or took an unpaid vacation, then that number will
be much lower than the true average pay amount. This is just one way that the insurance company can lower your AWW. Only by calling an experienced attorney can you be confident that you are
being paid fairly.
Another issue that must be addressed as soon as possible after a work injury, is establishing the correct body parts. This seems like an issue that you wouldn’t need to worry about, but we
see cases all the time where someone is trying to get treatment for a body part they hurt at work, but because it was never added into his/her case, the insurance company won’t pay. Sometimes
doctors’ offices don’t send in their report to the Workers’ Compensation Board that discusses a particular body part. In other cases, a claimant will “tough it out” and not seek treatment
right away for something they think is minor. An experienced attorney can work to ensure that the insurance company is required to pay for all related body parts.
Don’t let yourself or a loved one make a huge mistake with their workers compensation case, their health, or their livelihood. Call an experienced attorney right away after an injury, don’t wait!
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When do You Need an Attorney?
If any of the following are true, you should retain an attorney as soon as possible:
- Your workplace injuries are severe enough to require surgery.
- Your workplace injuries are moderate to severe. If you and your doctor believe your health won't return to the condition it was prior to your injury, you may be entitled to a “permanent partial disability” award.
- You believe you are no longer able to work on a regular basis in any job.
- You believe you cannot go back to work at your current job, but believe you could work in some capacity.
- You have significant pre-existing disabilities.
- You would like to dispute an adverse decision made by your employer, your employer’s insurance company, or your state's workers' comp division regarding your workers’ compensation claim.
- You believe you are not receiving the correct benefits, or wonder if there are additional benefits you could receive.
- Your medical benefits are denied.
- Your employer has disputed a decision made by your state workers' comp division.
- You do not understand the workers' comp process and would feel more comfortable if an expert were representing your interests.
Regardless of the circumstances of your workers’ compensation claim, you are entitled to obtain an attorney. If your injuries are severe
enough that your life will be permanently altered, either because of permanent bodily impairment or a change in ability to work, a workers' compensation lawyer will be able to advocate
on your behalf to ensure that you receive the medical care and workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to. In addition, if your injury may keep you from working permanently,
a lawyer can advise you about filing for Social Security disability benefits as well.
Most states offer vocational services to individuals that are unable to return to work in their former jobs due to an industrial injury. A workers' comp attorney can assist you
in navigating the system so that you are most likely to receive retraining or monetary payment to assist you while you obtain alternate employment.
If any aspect of your claim is in dispute with your employer, or your employer’s insurance company, it is important for you to obtain an attorney. In many states,
the dispute process is highly legal, involving complex legal rules and procedures. You will likely be at a disadvantage if you do not retain an attorney to represent your
interests in these proceedings.