You are allowed to represent yourself, and many injured workers in Phoenix choose to do exactly that. However, hiring a workers’ compensation attorney may benefit your claim, and is advised in many situations.
Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
You probably do not need a workers’ compensation attorney if your workplace injury was very minor, you did not miss any days of work due to your workplace injury, you do not have any pre-existing conditions, and your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance and openly admits to the fact that your injury occurred while you were on the job or performing a work-related task. That being said, not all claims fit the above criteria.
You may need a workers’ compensation attorney if:
- Your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance;
- Your employer denies that your accident happened while at work;
- The settlement amount offered by the workers’ compensation insurance company does not pay for your injuries;
- Your workers’ compensation claim is denied or benefits are not paid;
- You are released back to work before you are ready;
- Your workplace accident results in permanent injuries;
- You miss multiple days of work due to your workplace injury;
- Your injuries are severe;
- A third party’s negligence was the cause of your injuries;
- You receive another type of benefit type (like Social Security disability benefits); or
- You are retaliated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
The Role of a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
All of the issues above may warrant hiring a workers’ compensation attorney who could advocate on your behalf. An attorney is responsible for:
- Holding your employer accountable to his or her duty to carry workers’ compensation insurance;
- Making sure that all necessary paperwork, etc. is filed within required deadlines;
- That paperwork and claim forms are filled out accurately and in full; ‘
- Negotiating with attorneys who represent your employer;
- Ensuring that you understand all of your rights (i.e. what benefits you are entitled to, the right to choose your own doctor, right to appeal, etc.);
- Estimating the value of your claim to check whether a settlement offer is fair and just; and
- Developing medical evidence and hiring experts that aid your claim being approved.
If you have been involved in a workplace accident and there is anything about the workers’ compensation claim’s process that is not straightforward, or if you believe that your rights are being infringed upon, it is within your best interest to speak with a legal professional.