Filing for workers’ compensation can be just as unpleasant as the work injury that made you eligible for compensation in the first place. If you’re unfamiliar with the laws around workers’ compensation or have an uncooperative employer or insurance company, you can easily become worn down by the process, leading you to accept a settlement that’s too low or avoid filing an appeal.
In many cases, it’s a good idea to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney. Seeking out an attorney who understands workers’ compensation laws can ensure you receive the benefits you’re owed. Explore when to hire a workers’ comp attorney and how Nessler & Associates can help you win your case.
You Suffered Serious Injuries
A serious workplace injury can impact other aspects of your life. If you’re looking at exorbitant medical bills, extended time off work, or long-lasting disability, trying to take on your workers’ compensation case alone is a bad idea: even an inadvertent mistake could potentially result in you losing most or all of your benefits. Consult with an attorney if your injury:
- Requires long-term or costly treatment
- Temporarily or permanently prevents you from working your regular duties
- Temporarily or permanently keeps you out of work
- Resulted in permanent disability, even if it doesn’t prevent you from working (e.g., partial paralysis or loss of a limb)
The Benefits You’re Given Aren’t Enough
While the laws around workers’ compensation vary from state to state, many will cover medical treatment and lost wages related to your injury. For example, under Illinois law, workers’ comp must cover:
- All medical treatment related to your injury
- Two-thirds of your regular wages if you are unable to work at all
- Two-thirds of the difference between your regular wage and your current wage, if you can return to work without taking on your full duties
However, your employer or their insurance company may try to get you to accept a lowball offer that doesn’t cover what you’re owed. They may refuse to cover lost wages, for instance, or try to get you to accept a much lower settlement. In these cases, it’s best to get an attorney who can ensure that you get the benefits you’re owed.
Your Employer isn’t Cooperating
A good employer will work with you to file your workers’ compensation claim. However, some employers don’t want their employees claiming workers’ comp and will try to prevent you from filing a claim. They may use various tactics to convince you not to file a claim, intimidate you, or retaliate against you for filing. For example, they might:
- Offer to pay your medical bills instead of letting workers’ comp handle it. They may seem to offer out of concern, like saying they don’t want you to “deal with the hassle.” However, there is a deadline for filing a workers’ comp claim. If your employer later refuses to cover your medical expenses, you won’t be able to recover the cost or file for workers’ compensation.
- Lie about your injury or the circumstances under which it occurred. For instance, they might claim the accident happened outside of work or say that you deliberately injured yourself or were under the influence. This can result in your claim being denied.
- Take punitive or retaliatory action against you. For instance, you file a workers’ compensation claim, and your employer fires you or cuts your paycheck.
- Not have workers’ compensation insurance at all. Most employers are legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance, but some will illegally forgo it to try and save money.
However, your employer isn’t allowed to try and prevent you from filing. Nor are they allowed to retaliate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Hiring an attorney is the best course of action if you’re struggling to get your employer to work with you on workers’ comp or have been retaliated against for filing.
You Plan to Apply for Disability Benefits
If your injury has left you with a disability, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance. While you can receive both workers’ comp and Social Security benefits simultaneously, you can inadvertently reduce your Social Security benefits by filing either claim incorrectly.
Working with an attorney will ensure you don’t accidentally reduce your benefits.
Your Claim is Denied
Far too many workers’ comp claims are denied for unjust reasons, leaving victims saddled with overwhelming medical bills and no compensation for the time they had to take off work. Unfortunately, far too many workers also lack the time or energy to file an appeal.
Hiring an attorney is your best option: they can take over the paperwork, help you build a strong appeal, and represent you at a hearing with the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
You Aren’t Sure if You Have a Claim
Some workplace injuries fall into a workers’ comp gray area. If you aren’t sure whether you have a valid workers’ compensation claim, seek legal advice from a workers’ comp lawyer to determine whether you have a claim.
Many law firms offer free consultations where you can talk to an attorney about the facts of your case.
Get a Free Consultation with Nessler & Associates
If you’re considering hiring a workers’ compensation attorney, get in touch with Nessler & Associates today. Our law firm assists injured workers from Illinois, Texas, Florida, and Colorado with the assistance they need to file their claims, fight back against unfair denials, and recover the damages they’re owed.
Additionally, we offer more than just a free consultation. Our no-fee guarantee ensures our services are free unless we settle or win your case. Call us at (800) 727-8010 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation today.