When you’re injured at work, workers compensation is available to virtually all employees to cover medical bills from the injury and lost wages for your time away. In fact, workers compensation is a no-fault system, meaning workers are eligible for benefits regardless of who was to blame for the accident. However, approval of your workers comp claim is not guaranteed, and the process of actually obtaining benefits can be challenging. In this article, we review five reasons that indicate you may need a workers comp lawyer to receive fair compensation.
#1: Your Workers Comp Claim is Initially Rejected
If your employer or its insurance company initially rejects your claim, it’s time to speak with an attorney. Reasons that your claim may initially be rejected include failure to follow procedures like notifying your employer or seeking medical treatment within the specified time frame. Other times, insurance companies may say that your injury was pre-existing or that you were not injured at work, especially with chronic or long-term illnesses. A workers compensation lawyer will investigate your case and build evidence to prove your injuries were work-related and any extenuating circumstances that may be at play.
#2: The Insurance Company Will Not Pay (or Stops Paying) Medical Expenses
In a workers compensation claim, the insurance company may require you to receive an independent medical exam with a doctor of their choosing. For some injured workers, this IME could lead to a different diagnosis or opinion than your own medical professionals. When an insurance company denies needed medical treatment, claims it's unrelated to a work injury, or determines it wasn't authorized, you should consult with an experienced attorney who can help you prove your claim.
#3: You Need to Claim Disability
If you need to claim temporary, permanent, partial, and/or total disability, it’s in your best interest to consult with an attorney. These different classifications determine the amount of duration of benefits that an injured employee may receive. If you’ve been seriously injured, an attorney will bring in experts and build a strong case to receive the maximum level of benefits by law. Oftentimes, insurance companies may improperly classify a disability in order to pay less benefits.
#4: You Got a Lowball Settlement Offer
Especially in cases of serious injury, an insurance company may quickly offer a lump sum settlement and may pressure you to accept. Insurance companies routinely fight claims and liability in accidents, resulting in denials or lowball offers that barely cover any of your needs. You need your own aggressive representation to secure your best interests.
#5: You Are Fired Because of a Work Injury
There are several laws that require employers to hold an employee’s job open and available for a certain period of time while the employee is recovering from illness or injury. While not every workers compensation case requires an employer to hold a job, many do. If an employee can return to the office but with accommodations, an employer is typically obligated to oblige by the accommodations. If instead you are fired because your employer does not hold your job or refuses to allow you back with modifications, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit. A workers compensation and employment law specialist can assess your case and advise you of your best options.
Help with Your Workers Compensation Claim
You have the right to file a claim for benefits after suffering a work-related injury; however, receiving fair compensation for your bills and lost wages can be challenging. An experienced workers comp attorney can handle your case and make sure you get the benefits you need to recover from your injury and move forward.
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we are dedicated to assisting clients throughout New Jersey and New York with their workers’ compensation cases. We have years of experience and the extensive resources you need to secure a fair case result. If you’ve been injured or your claim has recently been denied, contact us immediately to understand your options.