Obtaining workers' compensation is, in theory, a fairly straightforward process. If you are injured or become sick as a direct result of your work, you can file a claim to receive insurance payouts that compensate for medical bills and at least some portion of lost wages. Unfortunately, for many people who file a workers' compensation claim, it is rarely this simple in practice. Read below for more information on why hiring an attorney after being injured on the job is often the smartest move you can make.
Your Employer's Insurance Company May Not Cooperate
Insurance companies don't usually have the best interests of employees at heart and may deny your claim to workers' compensation outright. You may be told there is no proof the injury happened as a direct result of the job, or that there has been an error in the reporting process. If your injury or illness permanently prevents you from returning to work, they may also attempt to offer a settlement in place of regular workers' compensation payments that is insufficient to cover your medical bills and lost wages going forward. All of these are signals that you'll need a workers' compensation attorney to back you up and fight for your best interests.
Your Employer Has Retaliated in Some Way
It is unfortunately common for employers to "punish" employees for having filed workers' compensation claims. If you feel that a recent demotion, decrease in working hours, or even a refusal of regular raises has come as a result of your claim, then you should contact a workers' compensation lawyer as soon as possible. This kind of calculated retribution is illegal in all states and should be counteracted with legal action.
You Are Forced to Return to Work Early
In order to receive treatment in the aftermath of a workers' compensation claim, you'll have to choose a doctor from a list provided by your employer's insurance company. This may result in a situation in which the doctor—who is likely not your regular family doctor—recommends you as able to return to work long before you are comfortable doing so. If you have recently found yourself in such a situation and aren't sure how you can challenge the doctor's orders, get in touch with a workers' compensation attorney who can gather evidence on your behalf and postpone your return to the workplace until you're totally ready.
For more info, contact a local workers' compensation lawyer for more info.