When Do I Need A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
Being wronged or neglected at your workplace is a violating experience. Seeking out workers’ compensation is an important step to regaining the things that were taken from you. But do you need a lawyer to do that?
Generally, you can apply for workers’ compensation benefits without a lawyer’s assistance. Your employer’s insurance carrier should provide you with the necessary paperwork to make a claim.
However, if you are denied benefits after making your claim, then hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer would be a big help with your appeal.
Here is how the process of making a claim goes, and when a lawyer should step in.
First, Make A Claim
You can make your initial claim without a lawyer’s help. First, tell your employer immediately that you are injured. You should not delay, otherwise, you might forfeit benefits.
By law, your employer can send you to a company doctor for your first medical visit. When you visit the doctor, tell him or her that you were injured at work and get a written doctor’s note if you are too injured to work. If you want to meet with your own doctor for subsequent visits, obtain a Form 8 and file it.
Your employer should file the report with the Department of Labor within 3 days. If they do not, you should call 802-828-2286 to file the report using Form 5 yourself. Your employer’s insurance carrier has 21 days to investigate and make a decision about whether your injury is covered. If you do not hear from the insurance carrier, call the number provided in this paragraph.
If Denied, Start The Appeals Process With A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you are denied benefits, read your denial letter. The letter should contain the following information:
- The reasons why you were denied benefits. For example, the insurer might not believe your injury is work-related, or they might not agree that your injury is covered by workers compensation insurance;
- Your appeal rights;
- The deadlines you must meet to bring an appeal.
Read this letter carefully. You must follow all required steps to bring an appeal. If you feel overwhelmed, reach out to a lawyer. A lawyer can move quickly to protect your right to an appeal, so connecting with one is a good decision.
After your claim is denied, you can request an appeal with the Department of Labor (DOL). You will need to convince the Department that you qualify for benefits by submitting medical and other evidence.
Then, Build Your Case
The evidence you need to build your case depends on the reasons the insurance carrier rejected your claim. One big advantage of using a lawyer is that they know what the Department of Labor is looking for when reviewing your claim.
For example, if the carrier does not believe that your injury is sufficiently serious, then you can present medical records and medical testimony to the contrary. Similarly, if the carrier does not believe you were injured at work, you can have coworkers testify on your behalf.
A workers’ compensation lawyer can help collect all of this evidence. A lawyer also understands any new DOL decisions that might help your case.
Speak with a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Injured workers need benefits to pay for medical care and replace lost wages. At Sabbeth Law, our workers’ compensation lawyers have helped countless workers qualify for the benefits they deserve.
To schedule your free case review, please call 802-457-1112 or message us.