A lot of injured workers assume they automatically need an attorney any time they are hurt at work and decide to pursue workers’ compensation benefits. That is not necessarily always the case. Under certain circumstances, and with certain types of claims, hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer may be a waste of your money and could delay the process of your claim altogether. We will discuss when you might not necessarily need an attorney and when hiring an attorney will be in your best interest.
When You Might Not Need An Attorney
Not all injured workers need a lawyer. If you have only a minor injury, perhaps you won’t miss any time from work or you might miss a couple of days and you are receiving all the medical treatment you need, you may not necessarily need an attorney. If you are able to return quickly to your job and don’t believe you have any permanent or long-lasting effects, then you might be able to handle your claim on your own. This is assuming your employer is not denying your claim or any of your rights to wage benefits and medical treatment that you are owed. With that said, if you are assigned an impairment rating after your medical treatment it will be difficult for you to know if your employer’s settlement offer is reasonable or not. It still may be in your best interest to at least consult with an attorney about any potential settlement offer you might be considering.
When You Will Need An Attorney
In general, there are two particular situations when I believe you likely need a workers’ compensation attorney to assist you with your claim. At the very least, you should at least consult with one about your rights and benefits.
Significant and Permanent Injuries
The first situation is when you have suffered a significant injury resulting in some form of permanent disability. There are several reasons why hiring an attorney can be beneficial in this situation. First, if you are out of work and receiving medical treatment, you may not physically be able to handle your claim on your own. Also, in claims resulting in long-term permanent disability, you are entitled to different types of benefits that you might not be entitled to for a minor, short-term injury. It is important that you receive all the benefits you are entitled to under South Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws, including the correct amount of wage benefits and medical treatment you can receive.
Lastly, you will also be entitled to an award for your permanent disability that an attorney can help with maximizing your final compensation. An attorney knows how to calculate various permanency awards and knows what the true value of that particular type of injury is depending on your medical treatment, work restrictions and overall income. An attorney can also help you receive a functional capacity evaluation, independent medical examination or medical cost projection that can help you get the most amount of compensation you are entitled to under the law.
Denied Benefits or Claims
The second situation when you will certainly need a workers’ compensation lawyer is if you are being denied certain benefits such as medical treatment or wage benefits, or if your claim is completely denied. In this situation, your only recourse is to file for a hearing with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission to seek the benefits that you are being denied. At a hearing, your workers’ compensation insurance carrier will have an attorney thoroughly represent their interests and you will certainly need legal representation of your own.
Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Are Here To Help
The Law Office of Jared C. Williams, LLC represents injured workers in Charleston and throughout South Carolina. We have experience at contested hearings and can help injured employees obtain the benefits they deserve. If you need the assistance of an attorney after your work injury, contact our Charleston workers’ compensation lawyer and speak with us about your claim.