When it comes to obtaining benefits from workers compensation, it might be surprising to learn that some injured workers do not feel that they could benefit from hiring an attorney to represent them in their claim. While it is true that most injured workers will not need to hire legal representation for more minor injuries, workers with more serious or permanent injuries, or those with disabling occupational illness, should obtain representation from a qualified and experienced lawyer. However, there are many reasons that people use to avoid hiring and paying for the services of a lawyer that could be more costly in the long run.
The Injured Worker Does not wish to Get Fired
An injured worker may think that the employer will fire him or her if legal assistance is sought regarding a work-related illness or injury. It is unlawful for an employer to fire an employee who becomes sick or injured on the job merely because that worker files a claim for compensation benefits. Additionally, the employer will be less likely to let go of an employee who hires an attorney for representation for fear of a lawsuit. An employee with legal representation is more aware of their rights and the laws regarding continued employment during the compensation process.
The Injured Worker Does not Want to Sue the Employer
An injured worker may think that hiring a lawyer for legal representation will result in the employer getting sued or taken to Court. This is simply not the case. Under the law, an injured worker cannot sue an employer for a work-related injury or illness unless the harm was intentional by the employer. Workers compensation benefits are granted under insurance purchased by the employer, but are not regulated or controlled by the employer. A lawyer can make sure that the injured worker receives the appropriate compensation, medical treatments, and vocational rehabilitation when necessary through the insurer. The only way that the employer may be affected is through higher insurance rates if more workers become ill or injured due to an unsafe workplace.
The Injured Worker Just Wants Medical Treatment to Be Paid
While proper medical treatment and payment of medical expenses is important, there are other important factors to be considered as well. An employee with work-related injuries or illness is also entitled to financial compensation for time missed from work due to the illness or injury. Also, appropriate and timely medical care may be needed for proper recovery. In the case of permanent impairment, legal representation can be sure that the injured worker receives all of the benefits that they are entitled to and proper re-training for a new job if disability prevents that worker from returning to previous job duties. While having the medical bills paid is important, it is also important that the injured worker obtains all of the resources available to insure continued employment and meet other financial obligations as well.
The Injured Worker Thinks the Adjuster Is Nice
While the insurance adjuster may be a nice person who seems to have the injured worker’s best interests at heart, the adjuster must answer to the Third-Party Administrator who is hired by the insurer in the case. It is the adjuster’s job to save money and make the lowest offers possible to the injured worker. Being nice is just one way that the adjuster can gain the trust of the injured worker so that any offers are more readily accepted, even if they are lower than what the injured worker deserves. Additionally, it is not the adjuster’s job to advise injured workers of additional benefits to which they may be entitled, no matter how nice of a person the adjuster may be. While it is the adjuster’s job to save money for the insurer, an attorney looks after the needs of the client and can be sure that the injured worker receives appropriate compensation, medical treatment, and other benefits to which he or she is entitled to receive.
The Injured Worker does not Need or Cannot Afford an Attorney
While most employees with work-related illness or injuries do not need to hire the services of a lawyer, it does not hurt to take advantage of any free consultations that are offered. The injured worker can receive these consultations from many different attorneys in order to obtain more information and to compare costs and benefits of hiring an attorney, as different law firms charge different rates and offer different services.
Injured workers with more serious injuries or illness, especially those that may result in permanent impairment, will most likely benefit from hiring an experienced lawyer to help them with their case. Many lawyers will only charge a fee if the claim is successful, with fees being taken out of any lump-sum payments or other payment arrangements may be made. Payment arrangements should be considered before signing any agreements. An experienced lawyer can typically help the injured worker receive more benefits through financial compensation, better medical treatment, a higher permanent partial disability rating, and vocational rehabilitation re-training or a lump sum buy-out if needed. These additional services are often worth what fees the lawyer will charge an injured worker for services, and should be seriously considered to receive the most benefits possible.
Free Legal Resources
There are resources for information and services regarding the specific guidelines for workers compensation benefits and claims available for injured workers who need assistance.
Nevada Attorney for Injured Workers NAIW
The Nevada Attorney for Injured Workers (NAIW) offers free legal services and representation to workers who were injured or who became ill on the job. While there is no cost for services provided by the NAIW, services are not provided until the Appeals Officer level, which is the second level of appeals.
Nevada Division of Industrial Relations
The Division of Industrial Relations is the home of information regarding workers compensation, administrative codes, revised statutes, and has links to the forms used in the claims process.
Nevada Division of Insurance
The Division of Insurance offers a list of insurers and third-party administrators.
Nevada Hearings Division
The Hearings Division offers information about appeals and the hearings process, as well as a calendar of when hearings will be held regarding the Hearings Officer and the Appeals Officer.
Attorneys for Workers Compensation Claims
Bighorn Law has experienced and qualified lawyers to help injured workers make it through every step of the workers compensation process in the State of Nevada. The lawyers can help with documentation, timely filing and meeting deadlines, and with appeals should this become necessary. Injured workers can also benefit from legal representation to obtain compensation to which they are entitled, timely and appropriate medical care, a fair permanent partial disability rating, and appropriate vocational rehabilitation re-training if necessary. There is no need for an injured worker to take chances that everything will work out for the best. The lawyers at Bighorn Law are available to help.Go to the Next Article