If you experience an injury at work as the result of something your employer did or didn’t do, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. You don’t always need to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer, but it’s usually a good idea if your injury caused you to take a lot of time off work or a permanent impairment or disability.
Choosing an experienced, skilled attorney is essential if you want the best representation. Below, you can learn everything you need to know about finding a workplace injury lawyer.
A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Isn’t Always Necessary
Not all workplace injuries require a lawyer to make a claim. Often, your employer’s insurance company will approve a claim without dispute if your injury is obviously related to your work, although this isn’t guaranteed. It may not be worth hiring a lawyer if your injury didn’t cause permanent disability and required minimal medical treatment and a short absence from work.
For example, imagine you tripped over a loose carpet at work and sustained minor injuries. In this situation, your employer’s insurer would usually cover any medical expenses as the injury is clearly work-related.
When Do You Need a Workplace Injury Lawyer?
You may need a workplace injury lawyer if your employer’s insurer disputes your claim. For example, the insurance company may argue that a pre-existing medical condition caused your injuries or dispute your permanent disability rating. These issues require the skill of a licensed attorney to counter and resolve them.
Legal representation could also help if the insurance company refuses to approve your treatment or the proposed compensation package doesn’t adequately reflect the impact on your ability to work. However, hiring a lawyer doesn’t guarantee that you’ll achieve the results you want.
How Can a Workplace Injury Lawyer Help Me?
A good workplace injury lawyer can help you negotiate with your employer’s insurance company and place a monetary value on the consequences of your injuries and resulting limitations. They can also advise you on the contents of your medical records and correctly structure your legal arguments to increase your chances of success.
Furthermore, a knowledgeable attorney can engage expert witnesses to testify regarding your functional issues and how they affect your ability to do your job. They may also identify other avenues to pursue, such as a product liability claim.
How Do Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Charge?
When hiring a workplace injury lawyer, you won’t usually have to pay anything up front. Generally, attorneys use one of two charging structures for these cases. Firstly, your lawyer may impose a contingency fee, meaning they take a percentage of any settlement as payment. Therefore, you won’t pay legal fees if your case is unsuccessful.
Alternatively, your lawyer may charge an hourly fee for representing you. However, you’ll usually pay your lawyer from the proceeds of any award or settlement after the case concludes.
How Much Do Workplace Injury Lawyers Charge?
Most states limit how much attorneys can charge to represent clients in workers’ compensation cases. You can usually expect to pay a contingency fee of between 10% and 25% of the payout. If your lawyer charges by the hour, your state will usually cap its hourly rate. People living in one of the few states without limits could pay contingency fees as high as 33%.
The rules governing workplace lawyers’ fees vary by state and may depend on the payout size or whether the case settles before a hearing. The type of award you receive can also impact lawyers’ fees.
How Do I Find a Workplace Injury Lawyer Near Me?
Find a local workplace injury lawyer by searching an online directory. Alternatively, contact your local bar association, and ask for a referral to a suitable attorney. Consulting your bar association can be advantageous because it allows you to check whether any attorney you’re considering is an active bar member. It can also help you avoid lawyers with a history of bar discipline.
It may also be worth asking people you know if they can recommend a trustworthy lawyer. For example, you may have a friend or family member who successfully litigated a workers’ compensation case.
How Do I Choose the Best Workplace Injury Lawyer?
Most workplace injury lawyers offer a free consultation, and it’s a legal requirement in many states. A free consultation allows you to meet the attorney in person and ask questions about their skills and experience.
It’s worth finding out how many workers’ compensation applicants they represent and how often they succeed in securing compensation. Also ask how much the lawyer charges and whether they have experience litigating cases involving similar injuries. Finally, ask them for their opinion of the strength of your application and the size of payout you should expect.