If you have a workers’ comp claim or suspect that you do, it is critical that you know when to hire a workers comp lawyer. Since lawyers typically won’t charge you any fees unless you win, consulting a workers’ comp lawyer only makes sense.
It’s also important to note that a workers’ compensation claim can be filed for almost any work-related injury.
Some of the most common include:
- Slip and fall injuries;
- Heavy lifting injuries (back problems, etc.);
- Repetitive strain injuries;
- Vehicle accident injuries; and
- Injuries caused by equipment malfunctions.
If your injury requires surgery or affects your ability to work for a significant length of time, you should immediately hire a workers’ comp attorney who can help you get compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. Even if you’re on the fence about the whole thing, it’s worth just getting a lawyer’s perspective.
When Should You Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer?
The best time to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer is immediately after you get injured. An experienced attorney will be in the best position to guide you through the often-complicated process of getting you the help and benefits you need, depending on the severity of your injury.
However, before doing anything else related to getting your workers’ compensation benefits, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. It’s recommended that you do so, even if your work injury is relatively minor. In practical terms, you may aggravate your condition if you continue to work while risking further injury.
In terms of your workers’ compensation claim, you must keep in mind that Pennsylvania has a strict statute of limitations, under which you must get treatment from a doctor on your employer’s list of medical providers in a timely manner.
You Must Notify Your Employer
When you seek medical attention, this is the ideal time to formally notify your employer about your injury. Keep in mind that Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations mandates that you have 120 days to do so.
After this, you have up to three years to file for workers’ compensation. Failure to file within this window of time can result in you forfeiting your claim. However, it’s vital that you consider whether you need a workers’ comp lawyer well before the deadlines set in the statute of limitations.
Is Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Necessary?
There are certain situations and periods of time throughout the claims process in which it’ll be necessary to be in close communication with your workers’ comp lawyer. From negotiating with insurers to ensuring you get the maximum benefits to which you’re entitled, it can be confusing and overwhelming if you intend on representing yourself. These are two common circumstances that’ll require an attorney to advocate for you.
When You Need to Negotiate With Insurers
You will likely need to be in constant contact with your attorney if and when insurers push back on your claim. It doesn’t matter whether your employer’s workers’ comp insurance is state-financed or privately funded. Both types of companies face the same pressure to make ends meet.
Insurance companies generate profits by accepting premiums, not paying out claims. Therefore, you can expect either type of insurer to resist your claim, either by attempting to minimize its value or by denying it altogether.
Resistance from an Insurance company does not need not be the final word on the matter. After all, you can attempt to reach a compromise and release (C&R) agreement, which is a settlement for your workers’ compensation claim.
The problem for you is that the insurance company’s lawyers will be experts in minimizing workers’ compensation claims and pressuring you to settle for less money than you need to cover lost wages and/or outstanding medical bills. Therefore, this situation will require you to have someone on your side who is equally skilled when it comes to negotiating.
When You Have a Workers’ Comp Hearing
Workers’ compensation hearings may not always be necessary. However, if the insurance company won’t settle or is only willing to make a minimal settlement offer, you will need to substantiate your claim and prove your case through a workers’ comp hearing.
Again, this situation will require the experience of a skilled negotiator. Unless you have a thorough understanding of workers’ compensation law and your rights as an injured worker, it is best to work with someone who has a thorough understanding of Pennsylvania’s court system if and when your claim requires a hearing.
When You Probably Don’t Need a Lawyer to Represent You
Before you call a workers’ compensation lawyer, keep in mind that there may be a few circumstances that may not require formal representation by an attorney. For instance, you probably don’t need a lawyer for workers’ comp to represent you in your claim if:
- You suffered only a minor injury with no complications;
- You didn’t miss any work, or you were only off work for a few hours or a single day;
- Your employer acknowledges the incident and that it happened at work; and
- You don’t have a pre-existing condition that could complicate your claim.
When to Get a Workers Comp Lawyer For a Free Initial Case Evaluation
There isn’t a definitive moment after a work injury that signals when you need a lawyer for workers’ compensation. However, you should make an initial call after your work injury so that a lawyer can help determine your best course of action. An initial case evaluation can help you determine when to get a workers’ comp lawyer, and whether you should wait or perhaps even decline altogether. It might sound strange, but the only way you’re going to know when to hire a workers’ comp lawyer is by letting one evaluate your claim.
Talk to The Workers’ Comp Lawyers at Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo
There is a lot to consider if you are trying to decide when to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer. From juggling medical bills to researching the timeline that determines when workers’ compensation benefits starts paying, it can be overwhelming for anyone, especially you’re disabled because of a work injury or you’re facing a lengthy recovery.
To ensure you get the help and benefits you need, speak to one of our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers for an initial case evaluation, at no cost to you.
Remember that every second counts after a work injury, and putting off a claim or speaking to a lawyer can prevent you from getting the benefits you deserve. Our attorneys are standing by. Call (844) 243-4823 or contact us online today.