If you are injured on the job, you may wonder if you really need to hire a workers’ compensation attorney. After all, getting benefits is your right.
However, you must follow several rules and regulations throughout the claims process. Failing to comply with these rules may lead to losing or forfeiting the benefits you should receive.
Additionally, the workers’ compensation system has established specific avenues to ensure you are treated properly. An attorney will ensure this happens and help protect your rights.
At the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines, our legal team can help you with your workers’ compensation claim and ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to. Learn more about the benefits of contacting our legal team for assistance here.
Attorneys Understand the Regulations, Rules, and Laws Related to Workers’ Compensation in Atlanta
Georgia workers’ compensation claims are guided by the rules and laws outlined in O.C.G.A. 34-9. Not only do the laws in this statute apply to those who are injured, but the employers and workers’ compensation insurance providers, too. These statutes define what is and is not allowed and can be complex for those who are not in the legal industry to understand.
An example of the rules and regulations you must follow in a worker’s compensation case is the amount of time you have to file a claim. For example, you have two years to file a lawsuit with personal injury cases. However, if you are injured on the job, you have just 30 days to report the incident and a year to file a suit in some situations.
In most cases, an injured worker will not fully read and understand this statute. This can lead to mistakes and other problems with their case. It is also a prime example of why having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Atlanta is so beneficial.
You must also comply with rules to receive workers’ compensation benefits. For example, when you begin receiving benefits, your employer or insurance carrier can provide the treating, authorized physician with a job description and a job offer if the doctor states you can do it. The benefits may not be continued if you perform the assigned tasks for just part of a day and must leave due to pain.
Attorneys Can Ensure You Don’t Experience Delays in Your Treatment
As mentioned above, your employer or their insurance provider will assign an authorized treating physician for your case. The recommendations made by this doctor impact the outcome of your case.
When you hire an attorney, they will ensure you receive the attention and care you deserve. In some cases, this involves changing the doctor assigned to your case.
Besides ensuring you get proper medical care, your attorney will also ensure no delay in the treatment you receive. After a workplace accident, a delay in treatment may result in the condition or injury getting worse. However, if it is not considered an emergency, you may have to wait to receive treatment until a doctor is assigned to your case.
By hiring an attorney to help with your claim, you will have someone working to ensure you can receive treatment immediately.
Attorneys Protect Your Interests by Negotiating with Insurers
Insurance companies have large and experienced legal teams working for them. Injured workers deserve to have the same representation and resources available to them.
Even if you think everything is going right and that the insurance carrier is taking the right steps and doing the right things, it means the process is moving forward based on the insurance company’s terms.
The attorneys working for the insurance company have protocols in place that ensure the claim is settled in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. Unfortunately, this means you (the injured party) are at a disadvantage.
It’s important to remember that just because your workers’ compensation claim is moving forward smoothly does not mean you are being told about all your entitlements and rights.
One example of how this may happen is with the independent medical exam (IME). If an injured worker receives indemnity benefits within 120 days, they are entitled to an IME with a doctor they choose. Additionally, the insurance carrier must pay for this evaluation and testing requested by the doctor.
Sometimes, injured workers aren’t told this information. Our attorneys will help you find a reputable doctor who can give you a non-biased opinion.
Attorneys Can Help Minimize the Impact on Your Social Security Disability Benefits
Your SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) benefits will be reduced if you begin receiving workers’ compensation benefits. While this is usually the case, there are some steps you can take to reduce the impact.
For example, if you receive a lump sum payment, you can spread it out. Having an attorney will ensure you know your options.
Attorneys Help if Your Claim Is Denied
Sometimes, workers’ compensation claims are denied. Denial can come from the employer or their insurance company. If you plan to appeal the decision, having an attorney is beneficial.
In many situations, valid claims are denied. Insurance companies do this hoping the injured worker doesn’t keep pursuing benefits. They leverage the fact that many workers don’t understand their right to appeal or the appeals process. They also bank on these individuals not contacting an attorney.
Attorneys Help if You Are Unable to Return to Work
Sometimes, the injury you sustain on the job prevents you from returning to work. If you have a permanent disability or impairment, it can also cause work restrictions. If that happens, you may need to seek vocational rehabilitation benefits.
If you experience a catastrophic injury, you must undergo vocational rehabilitation. The program offers injured workers career counseling, skills tests, and assistance finding new employment. You must work with the workers’ compensation system to get these benefits.
For non-catastrophic injuries, you can choose to participate in vocational rehabilitation voluntarily. However, it’s not required that your employer provide this benefit if you don’t experience catastrophic injuries.
Sometimes, there could be a dispute regarding if the injuries you sustained were catastrophic. If this happens, you need an attorney to help you fight for the vocational rehabilitation benefits you deserve after a workplace injury.
Let Our Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Help You with Your Claim
If you have experienced a workplace accident and injury, you have rights. One right is to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
While you may believe that you can handle the process without an attorney, it can be confusing and complex. Because of this, it is best to contact our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys from the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines. We are here to help you get the benefits you are entitled to.
The first step is contacting our office to schedule a free consultation. We will review your situation and ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to.