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When To Get a Lawyer for Work Injury Accidents

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries occur each year, so if you’ve been injured on the job, you’re not alone. The first question someone who’s injured asks is usually whether they should get an attorney. The short answer is that it depends, though it never hurts to call one and explore your options.

This article provides general guidelines regarding when to get a lawyer for work injury accidents and how to find one who’s a good fit.

Importance of Knowing When To Get a Lawyer for Work Injury

Knowing when to seek counsel for work-related injuries is essential to ensuring that your rights are protected.

Even if a workplace injury is covered by workers’ compensation insurance, there could be complications with a claim that requires legal knowledge to navigate. Insurance companies are known to deny claims when possible, making it difficult for an individual person to prevail and get adequate compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and other eligible benefits.

Regardless of the circumstances of your injury, you have nothing to lose by contacting a work injury attorney to discuss the incident. An attorney will serve as an advocate for your rights, answer your questions, gather evidence on your behalf, evaluate how much your claim is worth, and handle the inevitable mountains of paperwork.

When Should You Hire a Lawyer for a Work Injury?

Hiring an attorney for a workplace injury isn’t always necessary, but it’s often recommended, especially if your injuries are severe, you will miss a significant amount of work, or you are faced with a permanent disability.

Further, if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance or a third party was responsible for your injury, you may need an attorney to represent your interests.

While there are several signs that it’s time to consult a work injury attorney, you can refer to the list below to determine if there is a clear benefit to getting a work injury lawyer.

Complexity of the Case

Some workplace injury cases are cut and dry and don’t require the services of legal counsel. For example, a minor injury that didn’t require medical treatment probably wouldn’t rise to the level of seeking legal representation.

On the other hand, a serious workplace injury can result in a complex case that would benefit from having an experienced legal advocate on your side. Cases that require surgery, result in a permanent disability, or involve multiple parties can quickly become complicated.

Denial of Workers’ Compensation Benefits

employee denied workers compensation benefits

As you may know, workers’ compensation benefits are provided by your employer’s insurance company. As for-profit enterprises, insurance companies aim to pay as little as possible for a claim, and they will look for any excuse to deny payment.

There are a lot of things that could lead to a denial of workers’ compensation benefits, including:

  • Failure to report an injury in a “timely” fashion
  • Missing a deadline for filing a document
  • Sustaining an injury not covered by workers’ compensation
  • Lack of witnesses who saw the injury
  • Allegations of misconduct or fraud
  • Disputes over causation
  • Failure to follow company procedures
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Disputes about the extent of the injuries

The above list is long, and there are infinite circumstances that could cause an insurance company to deny a legitimate claim. There is, of course, an appeals process, and an attorney can review your case, identify the grounds for an appeal, and help you fight for appropriate benefits.

Employer Disputes or Retaliation

No employer actually celebrates when a worker files a workers’ compensation injury claim. These claims can result in increased insurance premiums, which can end up costing a company significantly over time.

Even worse is when an employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance coverage and you have to pursue your company directly for financial compensation. Not only does the employer have to pay out-of-pocket, but there could be additional legal costs and penalties.

In an ideal world, an employer would willingly take full responsibility for workplace injuries and ensure that you were compensated fairly for your injuries and any resulting damages. However, an employer may unfairly dispute your claim or retaliate against you.

Common forms of employer retaliation could include:

  • Termination or firing
  • Demotions
  • Reduced hours
  • Negative performance reviews
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Barring any opportunities for advancement
  • Threats
  • Harassment
  • Isolation or bullying

It is against the law for an employer to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim or reporting a workplace injury. An attorney can help you pursue the appropriate legal remedies.

Pre-Existing Conditions Affecting the Claim

Any time you report a workplace injury, your previous medical history is at issue. For example, if you claim that you were injured because you lifted a heavy object, evidence that you sustained non-related back injuries in the past could jeopardize your claim. Your employer could argue that your current injury is not work-related and is instead a pre-existing condition.

There is a difference, however, between a pre-existing condition and a condition that was exacerbated by a workplace injury. A work injury lawyer can help make this distinction and argue that you are still eligible for compensation.

Injured By a Third Party Product

Sometimes in the workplace, you are injured by something that isn’t necessarily related to your employer, such as a product or tool that your employer has in the workplace. In these cases, although this is a workplace injury, you wouldn’t want to work with a lawyer to file a claim against your employer, but rather, you would file a claim against the manufacturer of the product. For example, if you were climbing a ladder and it broke, that would be a workplace injury you should file against the ladder manufacturer.

A work injury lawyer, regardless of the origin of the injury, can help you build and put together a case to receive the compensation you deserve for an injury of this sort.

Key Factors in Choosing a Lawyer

lawyer writing at a table with a gavel and scales of justice

After determining the need for a work injury lawyer, the next step is researching your options and choosing the right lawyer to represent you. Choosing the right attorney can maximize your chance of success and make it more likely that you’ll receive fair compensation for your injuries.

There are various factors to consider in the evaluation process, including the following:

  • Specialization in workers’ compensation law: Workers’ compensation law is complex, and not all attorneys will be well-versed in this legal area. Therefore, it is highly recommended to retain an attorney who works exclusively in the area of personal injury and workers’ compensation, rather than a criminal or family law attorney.
  • Experience and track record: Because of the complex legal landscape, it, is wise to seek counsel from a law firm with years of experience and a successful track record. When consulting with various workers’ comp attorneys, be sure to ask how many years of experience they have, how many cases they have handled, and their overall success rate.
  • Initial consultation and case evaluation: It is common for attorneys in this field to offer free consultations to discuss your case. Please take advantage of this opportunity and meet with several lawyers. This is the perfect time to assess whether the attorney is a good fit and has a communication style that makes you feel comfortable and confident that a favorable outcome is possible.

Benefits of Getting a Lawyer

Industry research indicates that injured parties who seek legal assistance for workplace injury claims receive significantly higher settlements and judgments than those who choose to represent themselves.

While no lawyer can guarantee a successful outcome, there are several benefits to having one on your side.

  • Ensuring fair compensation: Calculating the value of your claim requires examining a multitude of factors, including lost wages, medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, disability benefits, and other potential damages such as vocational training and more.
    While an insurance company is likely to provide a figure at the bottom end of the range, an attorney will negotiate for maximum compensation.
  • Navigating complex legal procedures: Workers’ compensation laws are often complex, and there are strict deadlines and procedures that must be followed to succeed in the claims process. Having an attorney can save you time and minimize the risk of any procedural errors.
  • Representing your interests in disputes: In the event that there is a dispute, either by your employer, the insurance company, or a third party, your attorney will strategize and build your case. This could include uncovering binding legal precedents, hiring medical and forensic experts, and consulting with other professionals.
    Further, if settlement talks fail, your attorney will be able to represent you in court.

How Much Is the Cost of Hiring a Lawyer?

The cost of an attorney will vary, but typically, workers’ compensation attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that the attorney is paid a percentage of your settlement or judgment award instead of a flat or hourly fee.

This fee structure tends to allow clients to retain legal services without paying any upfront costs and avoid paying anything if the case is not successful. Depending on the law firm, there could be fees associated with expenses incurred during representation, so be sure to inquire whether these apply before signing any agreements.

How Can a Lawyer Help in Appealing a Denied Claim?

lawyer talking to judge in courtroom

If a workers’ compensation claim is denied, it can be appealed. Here, a lawyer’s assistance can be invaluable in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your case and developing a strategic plan to win on appeal.

Your attorney will look at the grounds of the denial and gather evidence that supports your claim. You can also count on your attorney to prepare the necessary legal documents and attend any hearings or related legal proceedings.

The appeals process requires following various procedural requirements, of which your attorney will be aware to help you through the process from start to finish.

Can Handling a Work Injury Claim Without a Lawyer Be a Viable Option?

You are not required by law to hire an attorney to handle work injury claims. In straightforward cases with minor injuries and a cooperative employer, an attorney is probably not necessary. However, if your case is complex with serious injuries, an employer dispute, or third parties involved, not having an attorney to advocate on your behalf could jeopardize the outcome of your case.

Contact an Experienced Work Injury Attorney

For legal help with a workplace injury, contact Sadaka Law at (800) 810-3457 to schedule a free consultation.



Principal & Founder
This article was written by Mark Sadaka, a seasoned trial lawyer in nationally significant cases. He fearlessly champions clients impacted by fatal or severe injuries caused by others or corporations. Renowned for his expertise in complex litigation, he's featured in books, sought after by media for interviews, and a highly sought speaker. Notably, he exclusively represents individuals facing life-changing injuries or substantial financial losses.

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