Sustaining a work-related injury can be stressful. It can become even more stressful if you’re worried about receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Even if your claim seems straightforward, there are a lot of nuances and strategies that go into getting you the maximum compensation. Without an attorney on your side, you may end up with less than you deserve, or your claim may even be denied.
When should you hire a worker’s compensation lawyer?
We recommend that you contact a workers’ compensation attorney early on in the process. Even if you feel that your employer and its insurance company will adequately resolve the claim, it’s important to remember they are not looking out for your best interests. It’s always a good idea to meet with an experienced lawyer for a free case evaluation. Our team of attorneys can walk you through the worker’s compensation claims process and give you an honest evaluation of your claim, including any complexities that may arise.
As soon as you start to see complexities in your claim, it is in your best interest to involve an experienced attorney familiar with the complex workers’ compensation system. Some common complexities in workers’ compensation claims include:
- Your injury was caused by a third party or serious misconduct on the part of your employer. In instances where a third party’s action caused your injury or your employer intentionally caused your injury, you may have a claim outside of worker’s compensation. It’s important that you meet with an experienced attorney who can review the facts of your situation and advise you appropriately.
- You’ve experienced retaliation. If your employer has engaged in any retaliatory or discriminatory behavior, such as firing you, demoting you, cutting your pay, or reducing your hours because of your worker’s compensation claim, make sure you have legal representation to advocate for your rights.
- The settlement offer you’ve received doesn’t cover your medical bills or lost wages. If you don’t think the settlement offer you’ve received is sufficient, it’s time to bring in an experienced attorney. A good worker’s compensation attorney is adept at negotiating with insurance companies to get you the best settlement possible.
- Your injury prevents you from returning to your previous job. Whether you are limited in what you can do because of your injury or unable to work at all, you may be entitled to payments that make up for those lost wages. However, these payments can be costly, and insurance companies like to avoid paying them if possible. An attorney is essential to help you get what you deserve in these cases.
- There are Social Security disability benefits If you currently receive or plan to apply for Social Security disability benefits, you need to make sure your worker’s compensation settlement is structured appropriately. If it isn’t, the workers’ compensation benefits you receive may lower your Social Security disability payments.
- Your claim has been denied, or your employer is not paying your benefits. It’s common for worker’s compensation claims to be denied. Employers and insurance companies issue denials hoping the injured employee won’t appeal. Don’t let that be you! A worker’s compensation attorney will help you with the appeal and give you the best chance to receive a high settlement.
How can an attorney help if my claim was denied?
As mentioned above, worker’s compensation claims are frequently denied. For many injured employees who chose to handle their claim themselves, this denial is the point where they consider getting an attorney. While an experienced worker’s compensation attorney is an asset from the very beginning of your claim, if you’ve received a rejection, it’s not too late to reap the benefits of having experienced counsel on your side.
An experienced attorney will help you navigate the administrative appeals process and can help you understand the reasons for the denial and strengthen your case. Many claims are denied due to insufficient evidence, so your attorney will work with you to build a strong portfolio of evidence. Evidence generally needed to successfully appeal a worker’s compensation denial may include:
- Statements from coworkers and other witnesses who saw the accident occur and those who see how it impacts your daily life
- Your medical history, including doctor’s notes about the validity and severity of your injury, records of doctor visits, and lists of medications prescribed for the injury
- Records in which you detail how the injury affects your daily life
- Photos, videos, or other evidence showing the condition that caused the injury and the location of the injury if on company property
In the state of North Carolina, appeals of worker’s compensation denials are handled by hearings with a Deputy Commissioner of the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The hearings involve calling fact witnesses (such as coworkers or anyone who saw the accident happen) and presenting evidence about the workplace and the accident. Depending on the claim, after the hearing, there may be formal discovery relating to expert testimony and then written arguments. The Deputy Commissioner will then enter an opinion in favor of one party.
Throughout this process, the insurance company and your employer will likely have attorneys fighting on their behalf, so it is critical to have an experienced attorney fighting for you, or you may end up with less than you deserve.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Consultation With a Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Let our experienced team of attorneys help you with your worker’s compensation claim. We’ve been on the insurance company’s side of the case, and we’ll bring that knowledge to your case to help you get the maximum compensation available. We’ll handle the logistics, facilitate case documents, attend hearings, and face the insurance company. All while you get to spend your time and energy focusing on getting better. Contact our office to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Our team will review the details of your case to determine the benefits you deserve and ensure that all deadlines are met. We do not charge a fee unless you receive compensation.