Should You Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer?
December 29, 2021 | Workers’ Compensation
There are many ways that employees can become injured on the job, including:
- Overexertion from lifting, pulling, pushing, or carrying items
- Being struck by an object
- Getting caught in a machine
- Performing repetitive motions
- Getting burned by caustic chemicals
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2021, workers’ compensation medical bills alone in the state of Pennsylvania exceeded $26 million. This is true despite the fact that more claims were denied than approved.
If you’ve been injured on the job, you might not fully understand workers’ compensation benefits. You may even be afraid to file a claim out of fear of losing your job. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you to understand your rights and to successfully seek the benefits you are owed.
Here are some of the top reasons to hire a workers’ compensation attorney:
1. What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
Many employees are afraid to file a workers’ comp claim because they fear they’ll either be punished by their employer or lose their job completely.
Workers’ compensation laws are regulated by the federal government. Under these guidelines, employees are protected from retaliation. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you to understand your rights as an employee and fight back if you are unfairly impacted because of your claim.
There are time limits to filing a claim, as well. In most cases in Pennsylvania, you must give notice to your employer within 120 days of your injury. There could be other deadlines depending on the specifics of your injury or illness.
If your employer denies your request for workers’ comp benefits, you must file a claim petition within three years of the incident. After this time, all benefits may be forfeited.
Workers’ compensation lawyers know the legal timelines and can help you navigate the system to file a claim on time and with the appropriate paperwork so that you can collect the compensation you deserve.
2. Your Employer Can Deny the Claim
Workers’ compensation benefits are usually administered by a third-party insurance company. These insurers are allowed to deny a workers’ compensation claim if they believe that the employee did not receive their injury on the job.
The insurer might also try to reduce or deny the value of the claim, alleging:
- You failed to seek medical attention promptly
- You failed to follow medical advice
- You were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident
- Your injuries aren’t as severe as you say
In some cases, bad faith insurers may simply deny all claims by default in the hopes that the employee will not pursue the matter further.
An accomplished workers’ comp lawyer can help you to appeal a denial effectively.
3. Workers’ Compensation Covers More Than Medical Bills
While workplace injuries may require expensive medical treatment and ongoing care, the employee may also lose income because they can’t work while they are in recovery.
In some cases, a workplace injury results in a disability that is severe enough to prevent the person from returning to the same career.
Workers’ comp lawyers help employees recover all of the compensation that they are due, including funds for:
- Hospital bills
- Medications and medical devices
- Ongoing rehabilitation or physical therapy
- Retraining if a career change becomes necessary
- Stipends when the employee is unable to work
- Funeral funds if the employee dies from the injury
- Wrongful death settlements
Each case is unique and may include some or all of these types of damages. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney can gather your medical records, review the likelihood that you’ll need extended treatment in the future, or help you to file a personal injury lawsuit if the injury arose from negligence of a third party.
With a skilled legal professional on your side, you can avoid claim delays and denials and collect all of the benefits you deserve, all while focusing on your recovery.