The Importance of Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Posted on February 2022
Each year, many employees are injured on the job, and not all fully exercise their rights to compensation, medical treatment, and other forms of support. It can be overwhelming and difficult to understand what your next steps should be following a work injury. Below we have highlighted an example of one of our client stories and some takeaways to prepare you if you find yourself in need of a workers’ compensation attorney.
One example of many over the years, is when a client, who we will call “Tom”, came to DeMayo Law Offices with a significant knee and shoulder injury. Our attorneys immediately began taking the necessary steps to ensure Tom received the benefits and medical treatment he needed and deserved. At the onset, Tom’s employer was taking care of him. His benefits and medical treatment were being paid in a timely manner by workers’ compensation insurance. At this point, Tom decided to handle the case on his own – a choice that would eventually cost him a significant amount of money. A year after deciding to handle the case on his own, Tom came back to our office explaining how his medical treatment had not gone as planned. Tom had made decisions that were not in the best interest of his claim; a DeMayo Law Offices workers’ compensation attorney would have been able to handle these issues appropriately for Tom.
The value in a workers’ compensation case is generally based on how easy or difficult it will be for an employee to return to suitable employment that falls within any work restrictions assigned to them. In the example at hand, Tom, towards the end of his treatment, asked his doctor to release him without proper work restrictions. This negatively affected the value of his case and made it difficult for him to prove the severity of his condition. If a DeMayo Law Offices attorney was handling the case from the beginning, they would have understood the complexity and severity of the injury and avoided this mistake.
In this case, our workers’ compensation attorney was able to rectify the situation. We reminded the doctor of the severity of Tom’s injury allowing the doctor to thereafter assign the appropriate restrictions to Tom when returning to work.
Tom needed stricter work restrictions and made decisions that negatively impacted the value of his case. Clients not getting counsel early enough combined with not knowing how to appropriately handle themselves to protect their body and claim, creates pushback on their workers’ compensation case. However, DeMayo Law Offices is ready to fight for you and overcome these obstacles in order to get you the right value for your case.
Hiring a DeMayo Law Offices workers’ compensation attorney is the best way to ensure you are supported after a workplace injury. Below, we will discuss why hiring a DeMayo Law Offices workers’ compensation attorney is the best decision after suffering a work-related injury.
1)The law is complicated.
In North Carolina, the laws for workers’ compensation are dense and complicated. Hiring a DeMayo Law Offices workers’ compensation attorney gives you access to a professional who will know how to properly handle your case and make sure you are pursuing and receiving the best medical treatment, out of work benefits, and any other support you may be entitled to. An attorney will provide you with legal support and assist you in all aspects of your claim, regardless of whether the workers’ compensation insurance carrier and/or employer decide to deny or accept responsibility for your work injury. They will help you understand the laws and strategies that will best protect you, as well as provide you with the best outcome possible per the facts presented in your claim.
2)Maximize the value of your case.
There are important details within the law that can be used to maximize the value of your case and any potential settlement. Workers’ compensation attorneys look at all the pertinent details of your case to make sure you are in the best position possible following your injury. A DeMayo Law Offices workers’ compensation attorney will make sure you are properly compensated, including determining your most accurate compensation rate, taking steps to confirm your most accurate disability rating and work restrictions, and numerous other factors that play a key role in protecting your legal rights and the value of your claim.
3)Receive the best medical care.
By law, the defendant(s) (i.e., the employer / workers’ compensation insurance carrier) select your physicians and any other medical providers if they accept responsibility for your work injury. Workers’ compensation attorneys know the ins and outs of working within this rule and will help you obtain a second medical opinion or evaluation with a different doctor, if appropriate, per the facts of your claim. Attorneys will assess and handle issues that come up with your medical treatment, file motions when necessary, and research potential doctors that could be best used for a second opinion if your claim is accepted by the defendants, but you disagree with the findings of the defendants’ chosen doctor. Likewise, they will provide the best doctors for you to use if your claim is denied and you have the right to choose your own physician.
4)Feel secure in future opportunities.
After completing your medical treatment, you may still encounter problems once you are ready to return-to-work. Workers’ compensation attorneys will address and discuss with you your return-to-work options. There are different work options your employer can offer you. For example if you are pre-maximum medical improvement (MMI) as opposed to post-maximum medical treatment, there are differences in what work can be offered to you and what work you may be legally required to accept. Similarly, if your employer does not have a job that fits your post-injury condition, your attorneys will advocate for what work is or is not suitable for you. They will review your options and ensure you are properly paid when out of work or returning to work. They will work with you to fight for appropriate work restrictions and if you have any permanent physical restrictions, will make sure they are included in the value of your claim.
5)Assist with accurate and timely benefits.
Attorneys will make sure your disability payments are accurate and fair for your specific wage evidence, whether you are unable to work due to work restrictions per your physician or can work a modified job, but are paid less for your work as a result. The workers’ compensation disability benefits that may be owed to you vary based upon numerous factors. For example, in instances where an injured worker may be able to return to a modified pre-MMI job with the employer, but the employer will pay them less, attorneys will assist in determining what temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits are owed. They will work to determine the value based on the difference between pre-injury and post-injury wages. Additionally, even when defendants accept responsibility for a worker’s injury and begin paying out of work or “disability” benefits, defendants do not always pay the correct amount in a timely manner. Attorneys will advocate on your behalf if a payment is late, and if needed, can motion the NC Industrial Commission for a late penalty to be paid to you by defendants.
6)Prevent early mistakes.
Common, unintentional mistakes made in workers’ compensation claims include not reporting the injury to the employer, not properly documenting the report of the injury, not seeking timely medical treatment, or not saving important evidence that will support the claim. Hiring a DeMayo Law Offices workers’ compensation attorney early on reduces the likelihood these mistakes are made. An attorney will guide injured workers through how to best report and document their work injury, provide direction in terms of medical treatment, seek out potential witnesses, and more. They are willing and able to assist in fighting for benefits and the proper value for your claim.
If you have been injured on the job, hiring a workers’ compensation attorney is the best way to fight for your rights and work towards earning the proper benefits and compensation. DeMayo Law Offices workers’ compensation attorneys always work on behalf of the client to make sure they receive what they deserve. Your safety and health are DeMayo Law Offices’s #1 priority. Please call DeMayo Law Offices toll-free 24-hour number at (877) 333-1000 or chat with us online at demayolaw.com so we can begin assisting you with your workers’ compensation claim.