You may feel unsure whether you should consult an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation lawyer when filing a claim.
If the insurance company awards your benefits, and you’re content with the level of compensation, why not simply handle the process yourself with your employer?
Of course, this assumes the case proceeds without any setbacks, and the outcome is in your favor. But Workers’ compensation claims are often not this straightforward or easy.
There are many situations when having the right attorney advocate for you can make a crucial impact on your claim.
Filing for Workers’ Compensation? Set up a free consultation with attorneys at Affleck & Gordon.
In the best-case scenario, your claim is accepted and you are able to make a full recovery. Yet, each claim is unique with its own set of circumstances.
What if . . .
. . . the insurance company doesn’t accept your claim?
. . . you don’t receive medical treatment and benefits payments on time?
. . . your injury causes long-term disability that prevents you from returning to work?
. . . you suspect the insurance company or your employer is mistreating you or mishandling your claim—or worse, you’ve been fired?
Or, what if you simply want an experienced advocate who can help you navigate the legal process and decide how to handle your claim, such as whether to seek settlement?
In all these instances, the right attorney will fight on your behalf to ensure you receive the maximum benefits to which you’re entitled.
Here are Three Reasons You Need an Attorney for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim.
You Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer if You’ve Been Fired
If you’re mistreated, your claim is mishandled, or your employer fires you as a result of your workers’ compensation claim, you should seek legal representation.
These are separate issues, but they stem from the same central question of your rights as a worker to legal protection when filing a claim for a workplace injury.
Let’s look at each of these scenarios separately.
If you’re mistreated due to your workers’ compensation claim, your employer has violated your right not to be discriminated against on that basis. You can’t be intimidated or punished for filing a claim, and your employer is required by law to accommodate any medical limitations on workplace activities prescribed by your doctor.
If your case is mishandled through no fault of your own, your employer should be held accountable. Let’s say you told your supervisor about your injury right away, and you tried to follow all the proper procedures.
But what if your employer doesn’t call the insurance company when they should? What if they don’t file the right paperwork with the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation? What if they misinform you about your workplace rights or your medical treatment options?
If you’ve been fired in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim, you need legal representation. If you work in Atlanta, your employer can legally fire you without cause—but they cannot fire you specifically for filing for Workers’ Compensation.
You may still be fired while filing a claim or receiving benefits, or if you are working under restricted conditions set by a doctor.
In each of these cases, a Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help you understand and defend your legal rights.
You Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer if Your Benefit Payments or Medical Treatment Are Delayed
If you’re out of work and aren’t receiving your benefits payments on time, or if your injury related medical treatment is delayed, it may be time to consult an attorney.
Your employer and their insurer have 21 days to decide whether they will accept or deny your case. That’s why it’s critical to report a workplace accident as soon as possible as well as seek medical care. This documentation is needed before you can receive any benefits.
The first seven days is a waiting period. If you return to work after seven days, you will not recover that period of benefits. You must be out of work for 21 consecutive days before you’re entitled to receive your first week of benefits.
If once you are awarded benefits your checks are delayed, you may be entitled to additional compensation as a penalty of late payment. It’s often crucial to hire an attorney to ensure the insurance company pays these penalties.
In addition, delays in approval for medical treatment for workplace injuries can have devastating effects on your health. This is another situation where a lawyer may be necessary to advocate on your behalf.
You Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer if Your Severe Injury Keeps You out of Work
A minor workplace injury may allow you to recover quickly and return to work with the same employer without permanent or long-term disability.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t report the injury or file a Workers’ Compensation claim. However, these cases may be relatively more straightforward to settle without a lawyer.
Yet there are other times when an injury may be more serious, lead to terminal disability or complications, and may limit your ability to perform your work duties.
Your work may be restricted based on your injuries. Or, in extreme cases, you may not be able to return to work.
The outcome of a claim can have a major impact on those who can’t work based on their injuries.
Should you decide to settle your claim, all benefits and costs of the claim should be considered, including:
- lost wages (TTD, TPD, PPD)
- doctor visits
- pharmacy bills
- tests and imaging
- hospital bills
- medical mileage reimbursement
- file administrative costs
- if your claim is catastrophic, the cost of life care (housing modifications, household services, medical attendants, and additional services as you age)
A qualified attorney will help you maximize your benefits to ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.
If you’ve been injured at work, or you’re thinking about filing for workers’ compensation and don’t know where to start, Affleck & Gordon can help. We’ve been helping people in Georgia just like you for over 40 years. Sign up for a free case evaluation here, or call us (404) 795-4972.