WHEN TO RETAIN A WORKERS COMPENSATION ATTORNEY
BY: ROBIN STEELE, PARALEGAL TO RICHARD H. IRWIN, ESQ.
If you’ve suffered a workplace injury and are wondering whether to hire a Workers’ Compensation attorney, the answer depends on the severity of your injury and the overall complexity of your case. The moment any complexity is introduced into your case is the moment you should think about hiring an attorney. For example, if your medical issues have prevented you from returning to your job or performing any type of work, and you fail to receive the benefits to which you are entitled promptly or at all, it may be time to hire a lawyer.
Regardless of the circumstances of your Workers’ Compensation claim, you are entitled to retain the services of an attorney. If your injuries are such that your life will be permanently altered, either because of permanent bodily impairment or a change in your 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.
A local and experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney can assist you in selecting the appropriate work injury doctor, negotiate with the insurance carrier and represent you at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. Most Workers’ Compensation cases settle before trial, and an experienced work injury attorney can assist in navigating a settlement to your best advantage. If your case goes go to trial, you are going to want a Workers’ Compensation attorney familiar with that court with years of Workers’ Compensation trial experience. Representing yourself is not recommended unless you have years of Workers’ Compensation experience and knowledge.
A reputable and local Workers’ Compensation lawyer will be familiar with your regional Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board and their judges. The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board is the court where your Workers’ Compensation case will be heard. The workers’ compensation system may have been intended to provide prompt and fair compensation for injured workers, but it now appears to work mostly to the benefit of employers and insurers. Hiring a seasoned attorney will go a long way toward assisting you in navigating your claim and advising you of your rights and entitlement to benefits.
Better yet, hire a Workers’ Compensation attorney who has been certified by the State Bar of California as a Certified Specialist in his/her field. This signifies that he/she has not only passed a comprehensive examination prepared by the State, but has also met or exceeded certain performance and experience requirements that entitle him/her to be a Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation law.
If you have any doubt about your ability to handle your Workers’ Compensation claim yourself, don’t hesitate to call a Workers’ Compensation attorney for a free consultation.