I’m often asked if you really need to hire a worker’s comp lawyer. The truth is, you can represent yourself in a workers compensation claim. But it’s best to go in prepared.
If you do choose to represent yourself, I recommend you do a lot of research to make sure you understand your rights and know exactly what benefits you are entitled to receive. (Grab a pen! You can start your research right on this site with First Steps.)
There is a lot to learn about how the process works and how workers comp benefits are determined. I would also recommend consulting with a lawyer at some point in the process to make sure you understand how the process is supposed to work and understand all the benefits available to you.
Know exactly what benefits you are entitled to.
If you take your own case, you will need to dedicate a lot of time making sure the workers compensation insurance company does what it is supposed to in your claim. Unfortunately, insurance companies often do not provide injured workers with all the benefits they are entitled to, and they sometimes give injured workers inaccurate information. One of the most important things to do is to obtain copies of all your medical records. Review the “Tips” section of this website for additional recommendations.
When do you need to hire a workers comp lawyer?
There are also certain circumstances where I would strongly recommend having a lawyer. For example, if:
- Your claim has been denied
- Your benefits have been stopped and you do not agree with reasons why or you do not understand the reasons why
- You have a significant injury
- There is a disagreement between your doctor’s recommendations and the recommendations of the IME (Insurance Medical Exam) doctor.
How do workers comp attorneys get paid?
Most attorneys take workers compensation cases on a 1/3 contingency fee basis, meaning the attorney gets paid 1/3 of the money awarded to the injured worker as a fee. I believe that in most cases it is worth it to hire an attorney. However, if you are able to get a pretty good understanding of how workers compensation works, you may decide that it is not worth it for you to hire an attorney.
Not sure if you need a lawyer?
If you’re still not sure about whether you should hire a workers comp attorney for your case, you can set up a free consultation with my office. We’d be happy to help you figure it out.