DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY FOR MY WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIM?
In the event you suffer a work-related injury, first on your mind is securing medical treatment as well as financial compensation to pay for lost wages should your doctor’s reporting indicate that you are temporarily disabled. To obtain these benefits, you will be working with a claims adjuster assigned to your case by your employer’s workers compensation insurance carrier.
The claims adjuster is NOT your representative in your workers compensation case by any stretch of the imagination. The claims adjuster represents the interests of its principal, that is the workers compensation insurance carrier and/or your employer. The claims adjuster is charged with the task of resolving your claim as cheaply as possible. By reducing costs, the claims adjuster is saving money for its principal, and as a general rule, this is not in your best interest.
You may be so consumed with your work-related injury and medical care that you forgo contemplating hiring a lawyer, however, it will behoove you to hire an attorney if you believe your employer or the claims adjuster is withholding certain benefits to which you may be entitled or you are not sure of the next step in the process. Chief among the reasons to hire an attorney to handle your workers compensation claim is to protect your rights, plan a strategy for your particular case to obtain all the benefits owed to you, gather information to support your claim, keep track of deadlines, inform you of additional claims and benefits that may be available to you, including third-party claims, and represent you before a workers compensation judge, among other reasons.
What if your employer is not responsible for the accident but a third party, such as an independent contractor or property owner, is? In that case you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to a workers compensation claim. The attorneys at Heiting & Irwin have the ability to evaluate the facts of your case to determine the possibility that your injury was cased by a “third party”, which may provide an award that would be significantly higher than available under a straight workers compensation action.