Atlanta Worker’s Compensation Lawyer
Workplace accidents are pretty common and range from broken ribs after falling off a ladder, carpal tunnel syndrome resulting from years of typing and back injuries from lifting heavy boxes. If you fall victim to workplace injury, you need the services of a worker’s compensation lawyer to help you recover compensation in the form of medical bills and lost wages.
But after suffering the trauma, you may find the task of filing for a worker’s compensation claim overwhelming. In this guide, we’ll clarify some of the questions you may have and clear your uncertainties about hiring a worker’s compensation lawyer.
Why You Should Hire a Worker's Compensation Lawyer
The worker’s compensation system aims at helping those injured at their workplace recover their wage loss benefits, medical costs, and any other necessary benefit. As such, the system has two primary purposes:
- To assist employees in recovering their benefits after work-related injuries
- To prevent a lawsuit against an employer in case someone gets injured at the workplace
Since the system aims at helping workers, hiring an Atlanta worker’s compensation lawyer may seem like a waste of time. However, since the worker’s compensation is funded by the employer or an insurance company, its decision may fail to consider the injured employee. In addition, both the employer and the insurance company may be reluctant about paying the total amount in every possible case.
Other times, there may be a lack of enough clarity as to what caused the workplace injury. In such cases, there may be accusations that the accident occurred due to a pre-existing condition or that the accident happened outside your workplace. If that ever happens to you, a worker’s compensation attorney will help you protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
Possible Reasons You May Need to Hire a Worker's Compensation Attorney
Where the injury is minor, the worker’s compensation system resolves your case without delays and gives you the benefits you deserve. However, some workplace accidents are complicated. In such situations, you’ll need an advocate to fight for your rights. Some of the cases that require you to hire a worker’s compensation attorney include:
The Employer Denies that the Accident Happened at the Workplace
In some cases, the employer may refuse to acknowledge that the accident occurred at the workplace. If that happens, your attorney will help establish the link between the accident and your work. Failure to provide the link may result in loss of compensation.
When You Have a Pre-existing Condition
If you have a pre-existing condition, the entity paying for your compensation may claim that the accident happened due to the disease rather than being workplace-related. However, a pre-existing condition should not disqualify you from receiving your settlement.
The Accident Was Fatal and Prevented You from Working for a Long Time
Where the injury is severe, you’ll require a substantial amount of compensation to cater to the medical bills. However, your employer or the insurance company may try to fight to reduce the amount of payment you deserve. In such a case, a worker’s compensation attorney will fight on your behalf and help you secure the long-term benefits you deserve.
Can’t Quantify Your Injury Medically
When some injuries are apparent, others are hard to prove. For instance, mental trauma resulting from a workplace injury may be hard to quantify the amount of damage using medical examinations. In such a case, your worker’s compensation attorney ensures you’re evaluated by a professional medical specialist who then submits convincing medical evidence about the severity of your injury.
Your Benefits are Delayed or Denied
In some instances, your employer may delay or refuse to pay your benefits even after it has been proven that they need to pay. If this happens, you can turn to other legal means, such as filing for an appeal. An attorney will help you through the process by securing and providing relevant evidence to prove that you deserve compensation.
You Don’t Get Enough Benefits to Cater for the Medical Costs and Lost Wages
During the worker’s compensation case, you may doubt how your medical and lost wage costs are calculated. In this case, you get fewer benefits than can barely cover for your medical bills. Therefore, you need a lawyer to help you get enough benefits to cater to quality medical care when that happens.
Your Employer Hasn’t Paid for Your Worker’s Compensation Insurance
By law, all employers in Georgia with three or more employees are required to pay for worker’s compensation insurance. The employer can fulfill this law through an attorney or an insurance company. However, if the employer has never paid for your worker’s insurance or lets it lapse, you are still eligible for compensation through Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund. In this case, you need a worker’s comp attorney to help you secure your benefits.
Georgia Workers’ Compensation Laws
When faced with a work-related injury, you’re entitled to worker’s compensation benefits. But, unfortunately, many employers and insurance companies are reluctant about paying your benefits. This may leave you frustrated with the complex appeal cases. When this happens, many victims tend to abandon the race to fight for their rights while others decide to fight independently.
However, a workers’ compensation attorney increases your chances of getting your benefits by negotiating on your behalf. When the insurance company’s lawyer and the claim adjuster work against you, the worker’s compensation attorney does the following to see that you win the case.
Awards & Memberships
Develop Medical Evidence
In many worker’s compensation cases, victims are denied claims due to a lack of evidence. Your lawyer ensures that you get the best medical care and all the benefits you deserve by providing medical evidence. The attorney does this by:
- Gathering all the necessary medical records
- Planning treatment with certain medical practitioners
- Getting a medical opinion from your doctor
- Representing you in all your hearings
- Carrying out depositions of medical experts
Negotiating Settlement Agreements
A good worker’s compensation attorney can estimate how much benefit you should get from your compensation insurance. How much you get depends on various factors such as:
- The severity of your injuries and their overall effects on your abilities
- The cost of medical treatment you’ll need
- Whether you got permanent impairment from the injuries and the severity of the injury
- Whether your employer has your outstanding benefits from your previous temporary injury
- Your previous wages
Since professional worker’s compensation attorneys are conversant with tricks used by insurance company lawyers, they engage in helpful negotiation and help you get the compensation you deserve. Once you reach an agreement, your attorney confirms that it’s well written to prevent future complications.
Report During Your Hearing and Trial
Where it’s hard to reach compensation, your case may go before a worker’s compensation judge. In this case, your attorney represents you by cross-examining witnesses, presenting your medical records, writing your pleading, and carrying out legal research on your behalf. During the hearing period, the lawyer will:
- Present the reason you should be compensated to the judge
- Examine witnesses
- Making opening and closing remarks
- Object when the insurance company does something wrong
If need be, the attorney will help you raise an appeal.
Offer Insight on Third-party Claims and Other Potential Benefits
If the accident occurred due to another person’s negligence other than your employer, you need to claim that person. For example, a third party can be a manufacturer of faulty equipment. In this case, you will file for a personal injury case other than a workers’ compensation claim. The latter is more valuable since the damages involved include pain, suffering, and possible loss of wages. Your attorney will also advise you on other potential benefits from your claim, such as:
- Temporary vocational rehabilitation
- Wage reimbursement
- Longterm insurance benefits
- Social security benefits
- Short-term disability claim
How Much Do You Pay for Worker’s Compensation Lawyer?
In most cases, workers’ compensation attorneys charge on a contingency basis. This means that you won’t pay the lawyer any upfront fees. Instead, you’ll pay the costs once you win the case.
What Does Worker’s Compensation in Atlanta Cover?
A worker’s compensation in Atlanta helps the employee get:
- Disability benefits- you get this when the work-related injury leaves you disabled
- Missed wages- pay for wages on the days you miss your job due to the work-related injury
- On-going care- the coverage caters for any required extended treatment such as physical therapy
- Funeral costs and death benefits- if you lose your life in a work-related accident, the coverage caters to funeral expenses. In addition, your dependents will get ⅔ of your average weekly wages.
How long you receive your worker’s compensation benefits depends on the severity of your injuries. Based on your type of injuries, you might receive your compensation for up to 400 weeks.
Talk To a Worker’s Compensation Attorney
If facing a simple workers’ compensation claim, you may be able to present yourself. But if your case is complicated or falls under one of the categories mentioned above, you need to contact an Atlanta worker’s compensation lawyer right away.