Work Accidents: Do you need a Lawyer?
You’ve been injured on the job. Now what? Many people involved in work accidents aren’t sure if they should seek legal representation for their claim. While many employers offer workers compensation to help avoid on-the-job injury lawsuits, this doesn’t mean it’s the only legal means for you to get the compensation you deserve. Hiring an attorney for your work accident typically depends on the severity of your injury or overall complexity of your case.
When to Hire A Lawyer
Even in minor situations, it’s always a good idea to contact an attorney for a free consultation about your case, just to make sure you aren’t missing out on the maximum potential benefits. Here are some factors that point towards hiring a lawyer in your work accident case:
- You’ve suffered a serious workplace injury
- You’ve missed a lot of work due to your injury
- Your employer is denying your claim
- Your employer’s settlement isn’t covering all of your lost wages or medical bills
- Your medical issues are preventing you from returning back to work
- You have a potential third-party claim
Employer/ employee relationships, as well as company size, play big factors in whether or not employees decide to hire an attorney. According to the Worker’s Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), 23% of injured workers hired attorneys because they feared being fired or laid off. If a worker has a good relationship with their employer, they are less likely to file suit. Larger companies tend to see more lawsuits as their employees tend to have more experience with workers’ comp claims, however; larger companies are more likely to provide timely outreach to injured workers, with specialized staff trained to handle personal issues.
Job tenure and age also increased the likelihood of workers hiring attorneys. Workers who had less than one year of employment were more likely to hire attorneys. Those with more than 10 years with the same employer avoided hiring one due to employer loyalty. On the other hand, older workers tend to hire an attorney based on the hypothesis that they know more people who’ve relied on workers’ comp attorneys. Severity of injuries and the fear of being let go by the employer was also a big concern for older works, again, increasing the likelihood of them seeking legal representation.
Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer
If you decide to hire a lawyer, you can rest assure they will be able to work as your advocate and alleviate the sometimes overwhelming process of filing a work accident claim. Your lawyer will be able to offer:
- An understanding of the law regarding your case
- Experience handling other work-related injuries
- Guidance through the legal process in an understandable manner
- Assurance that your rights and best interests remain protected
When to Represent Yourself
Although the benefits of hiring a lawyer for your work accident are undeniable, sometimes they can be handled by yourself and through the cooperation of your company. Consider representing yourself if the following rings true to your situation:
- You suffered a minor work injury, such as a cut or bruise
- You missed little to no work due to your injury
- Your employer takes responsibility or admits the injury happened at work
- You do not have a pre-existing condition
Again, it’s always best to consult an attorney if you’re unsure if you’re unsure as to how to approach your work accident claim. If you are currently seeking guidance, contact Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers at 713-364-0723 for your free consultation.