Work injuries can happen at any time, even to the most careful employees. Thankfully, most businesses in Georgia are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover medical costs, provide wage benefits, and more. After being hurt at work, you might wonder if you should hire a lawyer for your workers’ compensation claim. Is it really worth it?
In many cases, it is in your best interest to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer. There are several factors to consider, including how severe your injury is, the actions of your employer and their insurance company, and the specific details of your case. Let’s look at some reasons why a workers’ compensation lawyer is your best option while filing a claim.
Six Reasons You Should Hire a Lawyer for a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Although there are certain situations where you may be okay without a lawyer, those are the exception. Most injured workers have a far better outcome with an experienced attorney on their side. Here are some examples of reasons you should get a trusted lawyer on the phone as soon as possible after your injury.
1. Your Claim is Denied or Not Taken Seriously
It’s more common than you would think for employers (and their insurance companies) to deny workers’ comp claims in the hope that their employees won’t fight it. Many workers are afraid to appeal a rejection or not sure how to do so correctly. This is extremely unfortunate, as hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer makes all the difference.
Thankfully, most workers’ comp lawyers in Georgia (like John Foy & Associates) do not take a fee unless they win money for you. So, you can begin working with them immediately—at no risk to you. To schedule a free consultation with one of our workers’ comp lawyers, call (404) 400-4000 today.
2. You Feel Pressure to Return to Work Too Early
Under a workers’ compensation policy, you are required to choose from a list of at least six doctors provided by your employer (Georgia Code § 34-9-201). If you see a physician outside of this list, your costs probably won’t be covered by workers’ comp. The downside to this is that the insurance company may use it to limit your medical care.
If you feel as if the doctor you see is trying to say you’re cleared for work when you know you still need to heal—or you feel pressure from the insurer to return too early—you should definitely contact a lawyer. You have the right to benefits while you are still not well enough to work.
3. You Can No Longer Work as You Could Before
If a work injury prevents you from working for at least seven days, you are entitled to weekly wage benefits (Georgia Code § 34-9-220). These are paid at two-thirds the average weekly wage you were earning before your injury.
Once you are able to return to work, your injury may still limit your ability to perform certain types of work. In other cases, your injury may disable you from working at all. Whether you are totally or partially disabled, you are entitled to income benefits through workers’ comp. However, insurance companies often try to avoid paying these types of benefits because they are very expensive.
A workers’ compensation lawyer can help protect you from greedy insurance companies looking for ways to deny your full benefits. It does not matter how costly they become—you have the right to receive the benefits you are entitled to under Georgia workers’ compensation laws.
4. Your Employer Tries to Fire You
Some employers will look for ways to retaliate against an employee after filing a workers’ comp claim. Although you are under “at-will” employment in the United States, your employer still cannot hire you or cut your hours simply because you filed a claim. You should reach out to an experienced workers’ comp lawyer right way to protect your rights.
5. A Third Party or Misconduct Were Involved in Your Injury
If your work injury happened because of an accident involving a third party, you may need to take legal action against that person. You may have a personal injury case on your hands in addition to the workers’ comp claim, and that often requires the expertise of a lawyer. Unlike workers’ comp, in a personal injury claim, you can seek damages for what the other party caused.
You may also have grounds for legal action against your employer if they exercised serious misconduct in connection with your accident. Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss the details and your options.
6. The Insurance Company Tries to Limit Your Benefits
Insurance companies like to pay as little as possible on insurance claims. They often look for ways to limit or end your benefits as soon as possible. For this reason alone, it’s good to have a workers’ comp lawyer on your side. They can make sure your rights are upheld throughout the entire process.
Having a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Levels the Playing Field
It’s also good to keep in mind that the insurance company has its own team of experienced workers’ comp defense lawyers working on your claim. They will have experts at-the-ready, so why shouldn’t you? Many injured workers find the peace of mind—having a compassionate legal professional with your best interests in mind—is more than worth it.
Situations Where You May Represent Yourself
Although a workers’ compensation lawyer is almost always worth it after filing your claim, you may be able to get by without help if you:
- Have an employer who is cooperative and fully admits your injury occurred at work.
- Had injuries that were very minor.
- Did not have to miss any work (or missed very little) because of your injury.
- Do not have a pre-existing condition involving the same area that was hurt in your work-related accident.
Even in these situations, you might consult with a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer before proceeding on your own. Once you accept a settlement or close your case, there is little to no chance of receiving anything else. Your claim is often worth a lot more than you initially realize.
Talk to a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free Today
If you’re unsure whether or not you should hire a lawyer for a workers’ compensation claim, you can start with a consultation. Most workers’ compensation lawyers offer the consultation completely free of charge, so you can discuss the details without worrying about any fees or commitments. At John Foy & Associates, that’s how we have been operating for over 20 years.
Our experienced and compassionate Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers do not take a single fee upfront, so there is no risk to work with us. Give us a call today for your FREE consultation and we’ll talk about your options. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started with your FREE consultation.