Workplace accidents and injuries are common and can affect even the most careful employees. Thankfully, most businesses are required to carry adequate workers’ compensation insurance. After sustaining a workplace injury, however, you may wonder, “Is it necessary to consult a personal injury attorney?” The answer is almost always yes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, Seattle had 5,700 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses, with a rate of 3.3 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers. This is slightly higher than the national average of 2.8 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers. Seattle’s most common workplace injuries were sprains, strains, and tears, followed by soreness and pain.
The workers’ compensation system may seem straightforward, but dealing with a claim can actually be overwhelming. If you happen to be a resident of Seattle and have sustained injuries at work, a personal injury lawyer in Seattle, WA, can help you understand your rights and give you a better shot at a successful claim.
Read on to discover why consulting a personal injury attorney after sustaining a workplace injury is necessary.
Determining Your Eligibility for Compensation
Most people who sustain injuries at the workplace are usually eligible to get compensation. However, there are some things that can invalidate your claim. Workers’ comp insurance policies have rules that exclude seasonal workers, domestic workers, independent contractors, and people who work in agricultural fields and farms. Your personal injury attorney will help determine if you are eligible for compensation.
Ensuring You Meet State-Specific Requirements
In addition to being an eligible employee, you should also meet several legal requirements to receive compensation. You are only entitled to compensation if:
- You’ve been employed by the company
- The company has an up-to-date workers’ compensation policy
- You can prove that your injury or illness is work-related
- You reported the accident within a specified time period
- You received treatment from a physician or medical doctor
A personal injury attorney will evaluate the facts of your case to make sure you meet state-specific requirements, as well as any other requirement stipulated by the insurance company.
Help You Identify What Benefits You Qualify For
Most employees who are injured at work lose their claims because of unknowingly seeking out the wrong benefits. For example, you may be eligible for disability benefits and medical benefits if your injuries are severe, but you can’t receive vocational benefits if you can return to work.
A personal injury lawyer can help you determine which benefits you qualify for or deserve. They can also explain the condition under which workers’ comp benefits are paid out.
Gather Adequate Evidence
Insufficient evidence is probably the most common reason behind the denial of workers’ comp claims. And if your claim is approved, you’re less likely to receive full compensation if you don’t present strong medical and vocational evidence to support your claim.
To ensure that you’re fully compensated, a personal injury attorney can help collect medical records, arrange treatment with certain physicians, and obtain expert opinions from your physician. They can also help you show how the injury has affected your life.
Communicate With the Insurance Company
As an employee, you might not have an idea how much your workers’ compensation claim is worth. Your employer or the insurance company may try to take advantage of this lack of knowledge if you file the claim on your own. They will talk you into settling for much less than what you are actually entitled to.
A personal injury attorney experienced with workers’ compensation claims understands the negotiating tactics and tricks used by insurance providers. An attorney is more likely to engage in productive negotiation, navigating around any challenges that they throw your way. They will also make sure your settlement agreement does not contain any clauses that could cause problems down the road.
A personal injury lawyer knows how to evaluate your claim based on the injuries you have sustained. The compensation should reflect the extent of your injuries, medical expenses, impairment, late payments, and lost wages.
Strengthen Your Chances in Court
If you’re unable to reach an out-of-court settlement, your case proceeds to an administrative hearing or trial before a judge. Handling a workers’ comp case at this stage can be costly, time-consuming, and difficult for a person recovering from an injury or illness.
An attorney with workers’ compensation experience can handle every aspect of your case and help you navigate the legal system with much ease. And if you’re not satisfied with the result of your hearing, a lawyer can help you file an appeal.
Advise You on Other Potential Benefits
If a third party’s negligence caused or contributed to your injury, you might have a personal injury claim in addition to your workers’ comp claim. A personal injury claim can help you secure maximum compensation for injuries that are not covered by workers’ comp insurance. Examples include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, or emotional distress.
Your personal injury lawyer will help you determine if you are entitled to such a claim and provide advice on how to begin proceeding against the other party.
Consulting a personal injury attorney is beneficial in many ways. An attorney can navigate the complexity of your case, file a claim, and advocate for the best possible settlement. This will give you enough time to rest and focus on recovery.