Is It Worth It To Hire A Worker’s Compensation Lawyer?
All workplace injuries are different. Whether you should hire an attorney to handle your worker’s compensation case and, importantly, whether it is worth it financially to do so depends upon:
- The circumstances of your injury.
- What your employer does about your claim
- Other factors surrounding your workplace injury.
In many cases, it probably is not necessary to hire an attorney for a worker’s compensation case. This is so because the amount of money involved frequently means it is not worth the expense.
However, there are many circumstances where it is advisable to retain a worker’s compensation attorney. If you work in Milwaukee and suffered a workplace injury you are likely to have questions. You also may be determining whether you should hire an attorney or just about what forms you need to file for a claim. You can have your questions answered during a free consultation with one of the Milwaukee worker’s compensation attorneys at Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf.
Not All Worker’s Comp Claims Need A Lawyer
The worker’s compensation system is supposed to preclude the need for employees to hire a lawyer. The intent of the system is to:
- Simplify employee claims arising from injuries.
- Provide prompt, fair payment of claims by employers and insurance companies.
A state agency oversees the system to ensure that payments for medical care and time away from work to recuperate from injuries are made in the proper amounts and in accordance with the law and actual medical needs. You can find more information about the system by looking over Wisconsin’s Worker’s Compensation Guide.
Many times, perhaps even most of the time, that is how the system works. Many workplace injuries are not particularly serious and don’t result in truly expensive claims. Those are two of the main factors in whether it is worth it for you to hire a lawyer to help you with your worker’s compensation claim.
Obviously, if the claim is only for a relatively small amount of money, there generally is no point in hiring a lawyer. In fact, if a certain set of circumstances apply to your case, you probably don’t need to hire an attorney, and it probably would not be worth it to do so. Those factors include:
- Your injury was fairly minor and did not result in long-term or permanent disability.
- Your workplace injury didn’t require significant medical treatment.
- You missed no time from work or very little time.
- Your employer does not contest that your injury occurred at work and is covered by worker’s compensation.
- You had not suffered a previous injury or medical condition with lingering effects that involved the same area of your body as that injured in your workplace injury. This commonly involves back injuries, which can tend to linger and are the most common of all workplace injuries.
If all of these circumstances apply to your situation, you probably don’t need to hire an attorney and it probably would not be worth it to do so. However, even under these circumstances, it never hurts to consult with an experienced worker’s comp attorney, just to be sure.
Some Worker’s Comp Claims Definitely Need A Lawyer
Even if those conditions apply, you might still find you need an attorney. And if they don’t apply, it is quite possible you will find it is indeed worth it to hire a worker’s compensation lawyer. In the following situations you should always hire a worker’s comp lawyer:
- If your claim is expensive, particularly if it involves long-term or permanent disability
- Your condition will require considerable long-term medical care
- If you miss a significant period of work and have a claim for lost wages, the amount of money involved likely will make it worth it to hire an attorney.
Working with an attorney ensures you will be treated fairly and it increases your chances of getting the damages to which you are entitled to cover your medical expenses and missed work.
Further, those circumstances also make it more likely that either your employer or the employer’s insurer will attempt to deny coverage. They can base such a denial of worker’s compensation coverage on any number of factors, including:
- Denying the injury was suffered in the workplace as defined in Wisconsin worker’s compensation law.
- Challenging whether the injury arose out of your employment.
- Disputing medical evidence regarding the extent of the injury, whether it resulted in a permanent disability, the extent of that disability, or whether a pre-existing injury or condition is the cause of the injury.
You might not hire a lawyer if you sprained your ankle, spent $50 at a walk-in clinic, and only missed an afternoon of work. For more major injuries, suddenly an attorney sounds worth the expense. If there is a dispute over coverage, the amount of benefits that should be paid, or other matters related to your workplace injury, there are two courses of action open to you:
- A worker’s compensation hearing.
- Some form of agreement with your employer and/or the employer’s insurer depending on which is contesting the claim. At that point, you definitely want to have a lawyer. Your employer and the insurer certainly will.
If the dispute is over the nature or extent of your injuries, prior to any hearing, you can be made to undergo medical examinations by doctors hired by your employer or the insurer. That means they are not bound by doctor-patient confidentiality and can testify against you.
If the dispute is over whether the injury occurred at work or was otherwise work-related, there will be a hearing for that, as well. And it could be both. You don’t want to take that kind of chance about your benefits without a lawyer to help you get what you’re entitled to.
Even if you reach an agreement before a hearing, you want to have an attorney to make sure that the agreement is fair to you and protects your rights. Negotiating with the other side’s lawyers, who do not have your interests at heart, is never a good idea.
If You Have Been Injured At Work, You Should Talk To A Milwaukee Work Injury Attorney
The Wisconsin worker’s compensation attorneys of Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf are experienced in work injury law and are ready to fight for our clients. This is true no matter where in the state they are. Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf’s lawyers know that you and those who love and depend on you deserve the compensation state law promises if you are injured on the job.
If you have been hurt at work, contact the work injury team at Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf. We will give you a free case evaluation with no strings attached. We work from our Milwaukee office but represent injured employees all over Wisconsin.