Workers compensation is a series of laws intended to provide payments to employees injured in the course of their employment. The purpose is to prevent poverty for injured workers and their families in the unfortunate event of injury.
All states have some form of workers compensation, and nearly all employers are required to carry worker compensation insurance. Determining fault in how an accident occurred is irrelevant to workers compensation claims, provided the injury occurred in the course of employment.
Normally, an injured worker can receive reimbursement for medical expenses and rehabilitation services or physical therapy. If a permanent injury was sustained the worker may be entitled to a sum for permanent partial disability.
Though at first glance the law may seem simple and straightforward there are many times an injured worker requires representation by a skilled workers comp attorney. Many times, the employer’s insurer will claim the injury didn’t occur during the course of employment. This is especially true in cases where an occupational disease occurred, or an injury occurring over a long period of time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
In such cases, the employee needs a strong advocate to lay forth the pertinent facts to the hearing officer. At other times, the insurer will claim the injury is not as severe as alleged, or does not exist. Fighting claims concerning the severity of the injury may take an independent evaluation of the worker by a medical doctor not affiliated with the employer. An experienced attorney can usually be of assistance in determining how and when an independent exam should be conducted.
In selecting workers compensation attorney, the worker should do at least a basic investigation of the lawyer. The experience of the attorney in workers compensation cases should be a requirement. The attorney should be thoroughly familiar with worker compensation laws and administrative rules. Also, the worker should inquire as to the attorney’s caseload and whether he or she has sufficient time to devote to the case.
Referrals from coworkers and family may be helpful.. Advertisements will help narrow down the attorneys to the practice area. In addition, Martindale-Hubble and AVVO have ratings for attorneys in certain areas of law, including workers compensation. The ratings can be used as a guide in selecting an attorney. But most importantly, an initial consultation should be conducted and the worker should feel comfortable with the person or firm providing the representation.