If you’ve suffered a workplace injury, you may be wondering whether you need the assistance of a workers’ compensation lawyer. While the answer to this question depends on the nature and severity of your injury, these cases can be very complex and working with an experienced attorney is always the best way to ensure your rights are protected.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is a complicated process. There are many steps that must be completed and important filing deadlines which must be met. The attorneys at Johnson & Biscone have helped many individuals in the Oklahoma City area navigate the workers’ compensation system, and we’ll protect your rights every step of the way to ensure your claim isn’t unfairly undervalued or denied.
When Can I Represent Myself in a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
In certain situations, you may be able to handle your claim without the assistance of an attorney. If you are thinking about filing a workers’ compensation claim without legal representation, make sure that the following criteria exist:
- Your injuries are relatively minor and don’t require extensive medical treatment
- Your employer has acknowledged the injury occurred while you were at work
- There are witnesses who can conclusively help you prove that your injury occurred while performing your job responsibilities
- Your injury didn’t require you to miss much, if any, time at work
- You don’t suffer from a pre-existing condition impacting the same area of your body as this new workplace injury
Cases that meet these criteria are often less complicated and won’t cost the insurance company a lot of money. As a result, you are more likely to receive the benefits to which you’re entitled. That being said, the insurance company is not on your side and will always try to minimize the amount of money they must pay out on your claim. For this reason, it’s still a good idea to work with an attorney who can help you navigate the workers’ compensation process even if your case seems relatively straightforward.
What Situations Require the Assistance of a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
Most cases have at least some degree of complexity to them. In these situations, it’s crucial that you have legal assistance to ensure your rights are protected. You should always hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney if:
- Your employer denies your claim or fails to provide your benefits in a timely manner – It’s common for employers and insurance companies to deny valid workers’ compensation claims. This often occurs because the insurance company knows many injured workers fail to appeal after their claim is initially rejected. By working with an attorney, you’ll increase the likelihood that you’ll receive the benefits to which you’re entitled during an appeal.
- The settlement offer you received fails to cover all of your expenses – If you don’t think the settlement offered by the insurance company will adequately cover your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses, you will need to work with an attorney who can fight to get you a settlement that fairly covers your expenses.
- Your workplace injury impacts your ability to perform your job moving forward – If your injury results in a partial or total disability that impacts your ability to work moving forward, you may be entitled to benefits that will compensate you for these lost wages. These claims are very costly for insurance companies, and they will often go to great lengths to avoid paying these benefits. It’s crucial that you work with an attorney who has extensive experience handling workers’ compensation cases involving permanent disabilities.
- Your injuries were caused by the negligent actions of your employer or a third party – Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system intended to prevent lawsuits after a workplace injury. However, there are certain situations where may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation outside of the workers’ compensation system. These include instances where your employer’s or a third party’s negligence contributed to your injury, your employer doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, or your employer intentionally caused your injury. You will need the assistance of an attorney to navigate these complex situations.
- Your employer retaliates against you after you file a workers’ compensation claim – By law, your employer is not allowed to retaliate after you file a workers’ compensation claim. If you’ve been demoted, received a reduction in hours or pay, or experienced any other form of retaliation after filing your claim, you will need an experienced lawyer to protect your rights.
- You currently receive or plan to file for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits – You will need to structure your workers’ compensation settlement properly in order to ensure these benefits don’t lower the amount of SSDI benefits you receive. It’s crucial that you work with an experienced lawyer who can minimize any potential reduction in your SSDI benefits.
How Can a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Help?
The attorneys at Johnson & Biscone have extensive experience handling workers’ compensation claims, and we can help you navigate this complex process. Working with our lawyers will help increase the likelihood that you maximize the value of your benefits. Our attorneys will:
- Ensure all forms are filed correctly and all deadlines are met
- Gather all necessary evidence to build a strong case on your behalf
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair settlement offer
- Craft your settlement agreement in a way that won’t jeopardize your ability to collect additional benefits and helps you avoid unexpected consequences
- File a personal injury lawsuit against all negligent third parties in situations where this avenue is allowed and will help you maximize your compensation
Contact our Oklahoma City Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you’ve been injured on the job, it’s in your best interest to speak with one of our attorneys. Our consultations are free, and this meeting will help ensure your rights are protected throughout every step of the process.
Please contact Johnson & Biscone using the form on this page or call 405-232-6490 today to schedule a complimentary consultation. We serve clients in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Norman and the surrounding areas of Oklahoma.