Did you recently suffer a workplace injury? If you did, then you are in good company.
Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report that there have almost three million nonfatal injuries in the U.S. since 2019.
Are your coworkers or family members urging you to hire professional legal help to assist with handling your claim?
In this article, we’ll share what a workers compensation lawyer does and if hiring one is right for your case. This way, you can focus on recovering your health during your time off work.
Worker’s Compensation Claim Defined
A victim injured as a result of their workplace conditions or employer’s negligence can file a worker’s compensation claim to recover their medical expenses or other damages.
Worker’s compensation claims can include illnesses or accidents caused by exposure to workplace materials, equipment, or activities. The legal system allows a victim to recoup their losses with the assistance of a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Worker’s compensation laws are unique to each state. These laws are designed to help injured workers avoid suing their employers for repayment. When you hire an attorney, they can help guide you through these different formats.
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
A workers’ compensation lawyer represents injured workers who can show that their injuries were the result of worksite conditions or negligence. Workers’ compensation attorneys are also called personal injury attorneys that specialize in a field of law called tort law.
This legal professional assists victims through a negotiated settlement with their employer or their insurance company. They can also guide them through the justice system.
Seven Key Reasons to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
While you take time off work to recuperate, these legal professionals can be hard at work for you. There are certain specialized services and tasks a workers compensation lawyer can do for their client. Let’s take a look at what these tasks can include.
A worker’s compensation lawyer begins to build a case when they collect evidence and other details about your workplace injury.
Sometimes, this evidence includes a workplace accident or police report. They will usually take photos of the accident site and gather testimonies from onsite witnesses or your co-workers.
Drafting Your Demand for Compensation
A Demand for Compensation is a letter that summarizes an employee’s claim concerning why they think their employer should pay for their injuries. This letter will outline specific damages and the costs necessary to fix them.
If your employer rejects your demands, your workers’ compensation lawyer can then file a lawsuit on your behalf for these damages. This lawsuit officially notifies the legal system that you intend to seek repayment through the local courts. Your lawsuit will contain your injury site evidence as well as their legal arguments.
Pretrial sessions are meetings that both parties conduct with a judge before their trial starts. During these sessions, your workers’ compensation attorney will request your employer’s witness information, collected evidence, and legal arguments. These are called discovery sessions.
As your discovery sessions proceed, your workers’ compensation attorney will schedule a deposition. This is the time they cross-examine any representatives from your employer or other witnesses involved with your claim.
Negotiating an Alternative Settlement
A workers’ compensation lawyer can also help with other methods of alternative dispute resolution. These other methods include mediation and arbitration.
Mediation is the process where both parties in a workplace injury case resolve their dispute outside of the courtroom. Attorneys for both parties can write up settlement papers that outline details like payment amounts or due dates.
Arbitration is the forum where a workers’ compensation attorney presents your claim to a non-judge or a neutral decision-maker. These decision-makers have the authority to impose a binding decision.
Presenting Responsibility Disputes
Many states have at-fault state laws.
These laws mean that if you are injured in an accident, you can’t be more than 49% responsible for your accident if you want to recover your damages. When investigations start to reach this level of responsibility, most claims are referred to the local courts where a judge will decide who wins.
If this should happen to your claim, then a worker’s compensation attorney can help you present your arguments before the judge. After that, your attorney will help you navigate the in-court hearing process.
Investigating Contradictory Medical or Insurance Reports
Any form of contradictory information in medical reports or insurance accident reports could result in a denial of your claim. Your workplace injury lawyer will investigate your claim and present their own evidence along with yours.
This evidence can be used to contrast what’s included in these other contrary records.
Building a Third-Party Liability Case
Sometimes, a workplace injury isn’t the fault of the employer or their work conditions. These injuries could be the fault of other co-workers. When this happens, a victim then has two cases to deal with: the claim against the employer and a third-party liability claim.
Third-party liability claims are civil lawsuits filed against a co-worker who is directly responsible for a victim’s injury. A workers’ compensation lawyer can advise you on whether you have a strong third-party liability case to pursue and how you should prepare for it.
How Will You Approach Your Time Off Work?
Does your recent workplace injury contain any of these same circumstances? If so, then hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer is the smartest move you can make.
During your time off work, find a professional who has extensive tort law experience. This experience will be vital to negotiating a settlement. It will also serve you well if your case moves onto a trial.
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