If you have suffered injuries on the job, you may be wondering if you need to hire a work injury lawyer or if you can handle things on your own. The answer to this important question depends on a number of factors including the nature and severity of your injury, the overall complexity of your work injury claim and how cooperative your employer and their insurance company are.
When Can You Represent Yourself?
You may be able to manage your work injury case on your own under the following circumstances:
- Your workplace injury was very minor and did not require hospitalization or much medical care. For example, if you twisted your ankle on a construction site or experienced a small cut that was fixed with a few stitches, it could mean that you don't need to take much time off work or incurred much in terms of medical expenses. In such cases, you could handle your claim on your own.
- Your employer admits that your injury occurred at work or on the job. In other words, there is no dispute between you and your employer with regard to whether the injury is compensable.
- You missed no workdays as a result of your injury or had to take just a few days off to recover.
- You don't have a pre-existing condition that affects the same part of your body as the recent workplace injury. For example, if you already had a prior neck injury that was exacerbated as the result of a workplace slip-and-fall accident, you may have a more complicated case in your hands.
That said, even if you believe your case is relatively uncomplicated and that you have not suffered a serious injury, it is still a good idea to have a free consultation with a Los Angeles work injury lawyer. The experienced work injury lawyers at Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys, APC can walk you through the process, alert you regarding potential pitfalls and provide you with an honest evaluation of whether or not you can handle the case on your own.
When Should You Hire a Lawyer?
Any time you find your case getting more complicated and difficult to handle, you should seek the counsel of an experienced work injury lawyer without hesitation.
Here are just a few scenarios in which you may need the assistance of a lawyer:
Your claim is denied. Employers and workers' compensation insurers routinely tend to reject valid work injury claims. Many employers and insurance companies do so because they believe few workers will appeal these denials or pursue other claims. Retaining the services of a work injury lawyer will not cost you anything up front. Initial consultations are free. And, a lawyer will be able to put in the best position to receive a fair settlement award for your injuries and losses.
Your settlement doesn't cover all losses. If you are unsure of whether or not the settlement you were offered is good enough, don't rely on your employer or a workers' comp judge to find out if you are getting a fair deal. From our experience, judges tend to sign off on an agreement as long as it is not egregiously unfair. This is a time when you want someone on your side, looking out for your best interests. A work injury attorney will be able to do that in addition to exploring other possible avenues of compensation including filing a third-party claim.
You have suffered a permanent injury. Sadly, a number of work-related injuries tend to be permanent or catastrophic in nature. This means that your medical condition may prevent you from returning to your prior job, limit what you can do at work, or keep you from performing any work at all. If you have sustained a permanent injury or disability (partial or total), even your workers' comp benefits may prove to be woefully inadequate.
In such cases, you may be able to file a third-party claim against an individual or entity other than the employer, seeking additional compensation for losses such as loss of earning capacity, cost of ongoing treatment and pain and suffering – all of which are not typically covered under workers' compensation.
You are facing retaliation. If your employer has fired, demoted, or taken other adversarial action against you because you filed a workers' compensation claim, it is important that you contact an experienced lawyer right away to protect your work injury legal rights. It is illegal for employers to retaliate against workers who file a workers' comp claim for an injury they suffered on the job.
Your injury was caused by a third party's negligence. If you were injured because of the actions of a third party, you can file a civil personal injury lawsuit against that entity or individual in addition to securing workers' comp benefits. For example, if a negligent driver struck and injured you when you were on the job, you can file a lawsuit against that driver in addition to filing a workers' compensation claim.
What Your Attorney Can Do For You
At Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys, our work injury lawyers can help ensure that you file all the necessary forms and meet deadlines including court timelines. We will help you gather all the necessary evidence for your case including medical records, eyewitness statements and other types of physical evidence, depending on the circumstances of your case.
Our attorneys are skilled negotiators who can help you obtain a fair settlement. We can also take your case to trial in those rare cases when a settlement cannot be reached.
While there are situations in which you may be able to handle your own work injury case, the fact remains that those situations are rare. A majority of work injury cases are complex and can be intimidating for workers to handle, especially at a time when they are already undergoing so much stress and trying to recover from serious injuries.
Insurance companies and employers usually have highly-trained lawyers on their side who are looking out for their interests. Our experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyers will advocate for your rights and work diligently to give you the advantage. We charge on a contingency fee basis, which means you will not pay any fees until we have won compensation for you. If you are unsure about whether or not you can handle your work injury case, call us at (323) 782-0535 for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation. We are here to help you.