Some employers are very good at taking care of their employees, even when workplace accidents happen that result in injuries to a worker. However, some employers try to dodge responsibility by refusing to offer a settlement.
If you get injured at work, it’s a good idea to contact a lawyer right away to help you with your injury claim. A workers comp lawyer has the training and experience to assist you and ensure a smooth and stress-free process.
You might be wondering why it’s better to find a lawyer to process your claim instead of just doing things on your own. On top of making sure all the necessary documents are properly and promptly filed, a lawyer will protect your interests and tip the scales in your favor. Here are the steps taken by your lawyer to ensure you’ll get the compensation you’re entitled to.
- Determine the Nature and Extent of Your Injury
The truth is, not all injuries suffered at work are worth the time, money and effort you’ll be devoting to securing a lawyer. If the injury is minor (such as a sprained ankle) your lawyer will inform you that you don’t have a strong case for securing an injury claim from your employer or their insurance company. If, however, you have a major injury (such as a concussion or a fractured arm) then you have a case that a lawyer can handle for you.
- Determine the True Cause of Your Injury
Your lawyer will attempt to find out the circumstances of your accident at work by asking questions such as:
- Were you in a dangerous workplace at the time?
- Were you on duty at that time?
- What were you doing prior to the injury?
- Do you have co-workers who can testify about the facts of the case in court?
These questions are necessary so the lawyer will know how to explain to your employer and to their insurance company that you (the client) have a case for a worker’s compensation claim. These questions will also be asked by the court, if it gets that far.
- Produce Evidence That Your Injury Was Caused By Your Employer’s Negligence
It’s always necessary to have evidence that your employer was careless and neglected to create a safe work environment. You need proof that this negligence is the direct cause of your workplace injury. Your lawyer will gather copies of documents such as the attending physician’s medical report, pictures of the accident site, and written testimonies from co-workers about how the accident occurred. If you have no evidence, and only have your own testimony, it’ll be harder for the lawyer to file a case for you because you can’t prove negligence.
- Negotiate with Your Employer and Their Insurer
Your lawyer will enter negotiations with your employer as well as their insurance company regarding a settlement, if your employer doesn’t want the case to go to court. The amount you’ll receive will depend on a number of factors, so make sure your lawyer has the official receipts for your medical treatment. You can also give copies of your regular paycheck from the time prior to the accident. A statement from your doctor regarding the extent of your injuries and estimated time to recover fully will also influence the size of the settlement.
Doctor Looking at an X-Ray; image courtesy of rawpixel.com via Unsplash, https://unsplash.com
You’ll also need the physician’s recommendations regarding your long-term medical treatment for the injury, especially if the injury is extensive or severe enough. For example, if you broke your arm due to the accident, your doctor might have to put your arm in a cast to allow it to heal. The doctor will inform you about how long the cast has to stay – this will show the court that you’ll lose income due to the injury. That, in turn, will affect how much you can claim from your employer and from their insurance company.
Many injured workers are unable to get any kind of settlement if they lack the medical evidence needed to prove a claim. So, always prioritize getting medical proof that your injury has affected your ability to earn a living to ensure your worker’s compensation case will prosper.
- Go to Court if the Employer or the Insurer Refuses to Offer a Settlement
Some lawyers pursue their client’s claim by filing a lawsuit against the employer. The lawsuit can also be filed against the employer’s insurance company, if they refuse to grant a reasonable settlement. This means you should be ready to testify in court while your lawyer prepares all the other evidence mentioned above. Sometimes, a case can drag on, especially if you have significantly complex workplace injuries. This means a loss of income for you, which should then be factored into the damages that your lawyer will seek from the court.
Some employers are very good at taking care of their employees, even when workplace accidents happen that result in injuries to a worker. However, some employers try to dodge responsibility by refusing to offer a settlement. If you intend to pursue a worker’s compensation case against your employer, it’s advisable to hire a lawyer who is competent in this area. Look for a lawyer who has experience winning cases for other injured workers. That way, you remain confident that the court will rule in your favor or that your employer will offer a reasonable settlement.