Written on Jul 8, 2020 9:30:00 AM
When to Hire a Work Injury Lawyer?
Every seven seconds, an employee is injured at the workplace, according to statistics by the National Safety Council (NSC). Suffering a work related injury can leave long lasting trauma that affects both you and your family.
If you have experienced a workplace injury and are unable to work for a period of time or forced to deal with a lifelong disability, understanding how workers’ compensation benefits work and how a work injury lawyer can impact your case can make it easier for you to address your financial concerns and plan for the future.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation insurance provides medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs associated with rehabilitation to employees who are injured at the workplace. Workers’ compensation coverage is mandated by every state, although each state differs with what benefits, rules, and regulations are offered.
This coverage is intended to protect workers and their families in case of an accident. As a result, employees are only eligible for filing for workers' compensation if they have suffered at least 50 percent of an injury at work and had been following all safety rules at the time of the injury. How much you receive will depend on the nature and extent of the injury.
Workers' compensation benefits include payments related to:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Impairment benefits
- Job retraining
- Medical devices
In Florida, you can receive temporary total disability benefits if you need to take time away from work to recover from a work-related injury. These benefits are equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage prior to the injury, up to a legal maximum of $971 each week in 2020 (this maximum is adjusted annually). Disabling injuries, such as paralysis, can qualify for higher benefit rates.
When to Hire a Work Injury Lawyer?
Right after your injury, your first priority should be to receive medical attention immediately. Even if the injury appears minor, it’s important to see a doctor to be fully evaluated for both medical records and your health. Though Florida’s statute of limitations is more generous than others (you have two years from the date of receiving your injury to claim workers' compensation, compared to just 120 days in Pennsylvania), receiving medical help can help you avoid further aggregating your injury over time.
Though a work injury lawyer is not always needed for a workers’ compensation claim, representing yourself without the advocacy of a lawyer can be overwhelming—especially if you’re also healing from an injury. Here are a few situations where hiring a lawyer would be especially necessary.
If You Have a Workers’ Compensation Hearing
A workers’ compensation hearing isn’t necessary for every claim. However, there are times when scheduling a hearing is necessary for you to prove the case for your claim. If insurance companies and your employers are being difficult or are only willing to settle for less than you deserve, then your case proceeds to trial.
If your case reaches the point of a trial, then you will need a work injury attorney to prepare you for the “evidentiary hearing” before the judge. Prior to your hearing, your attorney will gather evidence to prove your claim, including medical records, eyewitness accounts, and other legal research. Having an experienced attorney by your side who has studied both workers’ compensation and Florida laws can ensure you are prepared for your hearing and receive the settlement you need.
If You Are Negotiating With Insurance Companies
The goal of insurance companies is to pay the least amount possible for your claim. Insurers make money off premiums and lose money on workers' compensation, so they will try to deny your claim or offer you a lower settlement than you deserve.
However, you don’t have to accept the pressure from insurance companies to settle for less. If you are finding that you cannot secure a fair settlement offer with insurers, then you should consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer immediately. An experienced lawyer should also be an expert negotiator who has the expertise to work with difficult insurance companies. Your lawyer will fight for your case so you can receive the compensation you deserve to be financially stable after your injury. Besides, you likely have plenty on your plate healing from your injury, so leave dealing with the difficult insurance companies to an experienced lawyer.
When Do You Not Need a Work Injury Lawyer?
A work injury lawyer is not required for every workers' compensation claim. If your injuries were not work-related, didn’t result in permanent disability, don’t require serious medical treatment, or do not leave you unable to work for long periods of time, then there is no need to hire a work injury lawyer.
For example, you may sprain your wrist lifting heavy inventory while on the job. You have orders to ice and wrap your wrist, take pain relievers, and perhaps take a few days off from work. If you were able to return to work quickly and your wrist healed, then it’s likely your time off and doctor's visit would be covered without a fight.
Choosing the Right Work Injury Lawyer for your Case
It’s important to keep in mind that workers’ compensation laws also provide some protection to the employer from certain liabilities. The Florida workers’ compensation system makes it possible for employees to receive benefits without having to prove fault on the part of the employer, but the absence of fault means that they are not entitled to compensation for pain and suffering resulting from injuries.
After you file a workers’ compensation claim, your ability to take legal action against your employer is severely limited. In situations where fault or negligence was a factor or injury was severe enough that benefits may not be enough to compensate for your medical bills and lost wages, it helps to have an experienced legal team at your side advocating for your case.
If any of these scenarios resemble your own experience with workers’ compensation, it’s time to speak to an experienced work injury lawyer. Make sure you find a lawyer with plenty of experience navigating your state’s workers’ compensation system and laws.
At Lowman Law Firm, we have years of experience securing the compensation they’re entitled to. If you’re facing a difficult situation involving workers’ compensation, contact us today for a consultation.