Both construction and manufacturing continue to be the most hazardous industries for workers. Injuries can and will happen in the workplace.
If you’ve been injured on the job, how can you file a comp claim without jeopardizing your relationship with your employer?
An experienced workers comp attorney can help protect your rights and make the process go more quickly.
For help with the elaborate process of filing a claim, read on.
The First Step
Often times, when people get injured at work their main priority, is how soon they can get back to “normal.”
It’s understandable that the worker wants to get back to work, but pursuing the claims process solo could lead to the worker passing on rights they are entitled to.
It’s important to know that both your employer and the State Department of Labor both have legal counsel. You shouldn’t be any different!
Act Sooner Than Later
You will want to build a strong claim for yourself so be sure to document all details related to your incident.
Make sure you don’t wait. It’s important to compile this type of evidence as close to the date of the incident as possible.
If the incident is severe, you’ll have to wait to hire an attorney once things stabilize. But ideally, the memories of the event will still be fresh in your mind once you reach out.
No Risk to You
Relax in knowing that there is no downside to hiring an experienced workers comp attorney.
In the case you don’t end up needing representation, then the advice you gained is free.
If you do have to file a claim, then you’ll be glad you had help throughout the process to get you back on your feet.
When looking for a workers comp attorney, many law firms like Dodge Jones offer free consultations.
Some ideas for good questions to ask are listed below:
- The number of years they have been practicing workers comp claims
- Is their practice mostly committed to workers comp? If no, what other cases do they also handle?
- References from past clients
- A brief overview of how a workers comp claim process works
The initial consultation with a workers comp attorney is basically you interviewing the attorney. It is an opportunity to get to know them before they represent you.
Both your employer and the Department of Labor will need to review your injury and decide if they agree you were indeed injured. Sometimes they don’t agree.
Sometimes the State agrees with the injury, but may not agree to the extent of the injuries. Or, they may contest the dates you missed from work because of your incident.
The less than ideal situation is when your claim is denied. Having to go alone in front of an Administrative Judge or hearing officer will make life complicated.
Sometimes a scenario unfolds where another party, besides yourself and the employer, is involved with the claim.
For workers comp, the three parties are as follows:
- First party is the injured worker
- Second party is the employer and insurance carrier
- Third party who can also be responsible for an injury
An example of this situation could be an employee, whose on the job, using their personal vehicle for a company errand when the vehicle is struck in a collision.
Not every workers comp attorney can cover this situation. Be sure to ask during the consultation if this applies to you.
The medical insurance providers can also provide an obstacle to your claim process.
The description or the specific codes relating to your injury can be misidentified by these companies.
This situation often results in unpaid bills and no pay for your missed work.
The law office will create a contract outlining their responsibilities with your claim.
The contract should specify how the attorney will be paid.
Usually, this is called a contingency, which means the attorney is only paid if they help you win your case.
Also note the contract should set forth any possible expected costs and who is responsible for to pay them.
Advice From a Workers Comp Attorney
Check out the list below of things NOT to do regarding your claim. This advice is from an actual attorney – but it’s always a good idea to confirm things with your attorney during an initial consultation.
- Quit your job
- Go to the emergency room versus trying to ignore your injury
- Sign anything such as generic worded “medical authorizations” or “supplemental agreements”
- Provide the insurance company with recorded statements
- Trust your boss to handle things without insurance
- Represent yourself at a court hearing
- Tell your employer or insurance about a pre-existing condition
- Agree to settle your case without speaking to an attorney
It’s best to heed the advice of this attorney.
Unfortunately, incidents do occur where employers retaliate against the worker filing the claim.
If the state finds proof of retaliation it can impose a large fine on your employer. The fine does not mean that you will receive any financial compensation.
If you think you were wrongfully terminated or retaliated against because of your claim, you should contact an experienced attorney.
The attorney will be able to help in the event you are owed additional compensation relating to the retaliation.
How much are you supposed to be paid when you are out of work? That answer most likely will not be straightforward.
Workers comp law firms like Dodge Jones in North Carolina will assess the amount of your lost wages very early on in the process.
Typically, the longer an employee has been at their job makes the claim amount easier to calculate.
Problems arise when employers don’t include overtime, bonuses or commissions when they should. And of course, simple mistakes add up to cost you real money.
A good attorney will always aim to get you the gross pay amount in your paycheck, which is the top number before taxes get deducted.
Don’t try and tackle the enormous task of filing a claim, and working with the State, while recovering from a stressful injury.
The good news, with the help of an experienced attorney they can get you back on your feet.
Click over to the law firm Dodge Jones to schedule a consultation, or to learn more about how the claims process.