In 2016 alone, approximately 2.9 million workplace injuries occurred. Many of these injuries prevented people from going back to work until they recovered in full.
When you’ve been hurt at work, in addition to being unable to work, your ability to perform normal, day-to-day activities might also be limited as a result of the on-the-job injury or illness. That doesn’t stop the bills from coming, though.
Sometimes it’s easy to collect the benefits you need, and are entitled to, to get you through this difficult time in your life. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Getting compensation for being hurt at work can be a serious situation for many people.
If you’ve been injured or contracted a work related illness on-the-job, here are some reasons why you might need to call an attorney.
1) You Want to Maximize Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
After being hurt at work, your employer may offer you a quick settlement. A lot of the times when this happens, your settlement will only be a fraction of what you’re entitled to under the law. Don’t forget, if your doctor says your work injury is keeping you from working, you employer (and its workers’ comp. insurer) are obligated to pay you 2/3 of your pre-injury wages (subject to a maximum weekly benefit that is set by law each year). If your injury is severe enough, and it looks like you might be out of work for a long time, the insurer, and sometimes your employer too, are not going to want to keep your claim open because it costs them time and money. If the insurance adjuster seems too anxious to offer you a settlement, you should ask yourself why. If you take that early offer, you’re likely to shortchange yourself on benefits that you are entitled to by law.
Also, insurance adjusters often don’t tell injured workers about some of the less obvious benefits they are entitled to. For example, claimants are entitled to mileage reimbursement for driving to doctor’s appointments, physical therapy and picking up prescriptions. This can add up, especially if you are treating with more than one specialist. The extra money can come in handy when you’re trying to get by on workers’ comp. payments.
Statistics from more than one source show that injured workers’ who have lawyers receive more benefits, on average, than those who try to go it alone. Remember, these are benefits you are entitled to by law, but sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes you need someone in your corner who knows what to ask for on your behalf and who can make sure you receive it.
If you want to make sure that you’re getting all of the support you are entitled to from your worker’s compensation claim, an experienced lawyer can fight on your behalf to maximize your benefits.
2) Your Injuries Are Severe Enough to Warrant Medical Attention
If you’ve suffered a relatively minor injury or illness, and a couple doctor’s visits is all it takes to get you back to work, then you can probably handle your claim by yourself. On the other hand, if you’ve already been to an urgent care clinic, or to the doctor your employer referred you to and you’re still not well enough to return to work, you may need to see a specialist. If it’s medically necessary, you have the right to be evaluated by a specialist of your choice.
Sometimes the insurance adjuster will refer you to a specialist, like an orthopedist, or a doctor who specializes in injuries to the neck or back, and then ask the injured worker to sign a form stating that it was his or choice of physician. DON’T DO IT. The insurance company may have an ulterior motive for sending you to a particular doctor, and if you sign that form you won’t be able to choose another doctor in the same specialty if you’re not happy with the one the adjuster referred you to.
If you feel that your worker’s compensation provider is giving you sub-par medical care, a lawyer can intervene on your behalf. All necessary medical care prescribed by a doctor including referrals to specialists should be covered by your worker’s comp claim.
A skilled lawyer can ensure you’re getting quality care.
3) You Need to Dispute a Denial Made by Your Employer or Insurance Provider
When hurt at work, we all hope we will be treated with dignity and given what we need to recover. The reality is though that paying out workers compensation claims can represent a large expense to companies. Because of that, some do everything in their power to limit the money they spend on workers’ comp benefits, sometimes to the point of denying a claim outright.
There are many excuses an employer or insurance company might use to deny a claim. They might claim that even though you had an on-the-job accident, you weren’t injured in the accident. Or they might agree that you were injured, but claim that it didn’t happen at work. Other possibilities include participating in horseplay at work, being intoxicated, or testing positive for certain drugs.
If your worker’s compensation claim is denied, and you feel you’re entitled to benefits, legal intervention is critical and you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as you can to ensure that you’re getting the compensation you’re entitled to.
Hurt at Work? Contact an Attorney Today to Get What Is Rightfully Yours
In summary, when you’re injured on-the-job, and have bills to pay, getting your workers’ comp. can be serious business. Many people with disabilities have homes to manage and children to take care of. To ensure you receive everything you’re entitled to, it’s important to have a skilled legal professional in your corner.
Attorney Edward Doskey, at Doskey Law, PLC, has decades of experience in injury and disability law. He represents workers’ compensation claimants as well as disabled workers in both long-term and short-term disability insurance cases.
If you need assistance getting the workers’ compensation you’re entitled to, contact our New Orleans, Louisiana based firm today!