If you’ve suffered a work-related injury or illness, you may be wondering whether to hire a workers’ compensation attorney. The answer depends on the severity of your injury, the overall complexity of your case, and the actions of your employer or its insurance company. In South Carolina, the workers’ compensation system was designed to provide prompt and fair compensation to injured workers. But often times these days, the big workers compensation insurance companies have a long history of denying claims or neglecting the injured, all to protect the profits of their insurance company. The workers’ compensation system seems to work mostly for the benefit of employers and insurers if you are unrepresented. You need to understand that insurance companies have teams of highly trained lawyers on their side, even when you are without representation. If the insurance company is going to have a team of lawyers, shouldn’t you too?
As a general rule, you may be able to get by without an attorney if all of the following statements are true:
- You suffered a minor workplace injury, such as a twisted ankle or a cut requiring a few stitches.
- Your employer admits that the injury happened at work.
- You missed little or no work due to your injury.
- You don’t have a pre-existing condition that affects the same part of your body as the recent workplace injury (such as an old back injury from a car accident that was there before you slipped and hurt your back on the job).
Even in these uncomplicated and straightfoward claim, we would recommend that you contact our firm for a free consultation to make sure you are not missing something important. An attorney at the Goings Law Firm can walk you through the process, alert you to potential pitfalls, and give you an honest appraisal of whether you can handle the case on your own, or if hiring the Goings Law Firm would be in your best interest.
When and Why– Hiring a Workers Compensation Attorney
The moment any complexity arises in your case is the moment you should hire an attorney. Here are some examples of situations that call for a lawyer’s intervention:
- If you have had any hospitalization or surgery. If you have undergone surgery or a hospitalization for your work related injury, most of the time an attorney needs to help you on your claim. This is true 9.9 times out of 10!
- Your Employer denies your claim or doesn’t pay your benefits promptly. Employers and workers’ comp insurance companies routinely reject true workers’ comp claims, with the hope that many workers will fail to file the appropriate paperwork with the South Carolina workers’ compensation commission or go through the hassle of making a contested claim. The good thing is that hiring our firm to represent you costs nothing up front, and it gives you the best chance to receive a fair settlement or award for your injuries.
- Your employer’s settlement offer doesn’t cover all your missed time from work or medical bills. If you’re not sure a settlement offer is good enough, don’t rely on the attorney for the workers’ compensation carrier or the adjuster to make sure that you’re getting a fair deal. Anytime your settlement offer doesn’t cover all your missed time from work or medical bills, you need to consult with an experienced workers compensation attorney immediately.
- Your injuries or medical condition prevent you from returning to your prior job, limit your work abilities, or keep you from performing any work at all. If you’ve suffered any degree of permanent disability—partial or total—you may be entitled to weekly payments (or a single lump sum) to indemnify you for your injuries or for your loss wages. These cases can be very expensive for insurance companies, and they’ll often stop at nothing to avoid paying you what you deserve. A knowledgeable workers’ comp attorney at the Goings Law Firm has experience to get you the compensation you desire if your case involves permanent injuries or illness.
- Your Employer retaliates against you for filing a workers’ comp claim. If your employer has fired you, demoted you, slashed your hours, reduced your pay, or engaged in any other form of discrimination because you filed a workers’ comp claim, contact a workers’ comp attorney immediately to protect your legal rights. In addition to a workers’ compensation claim, your employer may be civilly liable for workers’ compensation retaliation.
- You were injured because of a third party’s actions. The workers’ comp system was designed to prevent civil lawsuits for work-related injuries. However, you are permitted to in civil court in certain situations, including when someone other than your employer contributed to your injury (such as reckless driver who hit you in your work vehicle or due to fall caused by a negligent landowner). If your on the job injuries were caused by a person or entity other than your employer, you may be able to obtain additional recovery in a third-party civil action. The Goings Law Firm always tries to go after any negligent third-party for additional compensation for any work related injury.
What Will Your Workers Compensation Attorney Do?
In addition to making sure you file all the necessary forms and meet the deadlines, an experienced attorney will know how to gather the evidence needed to support your case, negotiate effectively with the insurance company, and write a settlement agreement to avoid unanticipated consequences. If you can’t agree on a good settlement, an attorney can prepare for and represent you at the hearing or trial.
Don’t wait, contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation to better understand your legal rights for your on the job workers’ compensation injury. The number is (803) 350-9230, and ask to speak to one of our professionals!