Why You Should Never Settle a Workers’ Comp Settlement Without a Lawyer
On top of medical bills, as a recently injured worker, you have a mortgage or rent payment due, groceries to buy, and an endless source of other expenses that cannot wait for a long legal battle. As such, it makes sense to a lot of injured employees to simply sign the settlement offer quickly.
In doing so, you are likely giving up a lot of money, potentially high-quality medical care, and potential vocational training if your injury is permanent. There really are only positive reasons for working with a Wisconsin workers’ compensation attorney.
What is on The Line With My Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Before you attempt to handle your claim on your own, you should have a clear understanding of what is at stake. In Wisconsin, the following benefits can be expected out of a successful workers’ compensation claim:
- Short-term wage replacement of two-thirds of your average weekly wages
- Full medical care for the work-related injury
- Potential Permanent Partial Disability
- Potential Vocational Retraining or Loss of Earning Capacity Claim
- Death benefits for the deceased workers’ spouse or children
Reasons to Work With an Attorney
An attorney improves your chances of success by offering strong negotiating power, gathering evidence, appealing denials, representing you in hearings, filling out all necessary paperwork properly and timely, and instructing you on the process all throughout. It is in your own best interest to have an attorney represent you.
1. Your Likelihood of Success Increases
The majority of workers’ compensation claims are eventually accepted by insurers after an appeal, according to the Engineering News Record. In most of these successful appeals, the claimant did work with a workers’ compensation attorney.
Furthermore, many of these claims that are initially rejected—for a number of reasons—end up being accepted months or even years later after an appeal, which is another important reason to work with an attorney.
2. An Attorney Understands the True Value of Your Claim
Let us assume that you decide to file the workers’ compensation claim by yourself, without an attorney. In this scenario, your injury is a fractured arm that requires surgery to repair. You will be out of work for at least four months, and you will require physical therapy for an additional three months before you can return to your normal job duties. So, how much is this injury “worth?”
You likely do not know, which is understandable because only a highly experienced workers’ compensation attorney would be able to determine all of your costs and projected costs. The first step in a successful negotiation with the other side’s insurance company is understanding what your claim is worth. If you settle a workers’ comp claim without a lawyer, you are immediately on uneven ground simply because you do not know the true value of your injury.
3. Your Claim Benefits Will be Greater
The monetary value of your benefits can have a long-lasting impact on your future and your family. While it may be tempting to take the money the insurance company offers you because you are worried they will withdraw the offer if you say no or put up any fight, your chance of receiving the total and fair amount that you deserve goes down if you do not work with an attorney.
For example, let us assume you have carpal tunnel syndrome because of the line of work that you have performed for your employer over the last 15 years. The option the insurance company gives you, without a lawyer, is as such: compensation for physical therapy and one month of partial wage replacement based on temporary partial disability. It may seem fair at first, but it probably is not.
With an attorney, you are much more likely to receive fair benefits, which might include medical expenses to perform carpal tunnel syndrome surgery, and two months of total disability wage replacement, followed by three months of partial disability, because carpal tunnel syndrome surgery takes at least three months to heal, with up to a year before full strength returns—if ever—according to the WebMD.
4. Your Employer/ The Insurance Company Might be Hiding Something From You
Whether you are owed more than they are offering or the insurance company knows that your injuries are substantially more severe than you understand (and will require more expensive medical care) if you decide to accept an offer from your employer without first talking to an attorney, you may end up being sorry.
Call a Green Bay Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
If you were injured on the job, got sick as a result of workplace exposure, or have already filed a claim and were denied the benefits you sought, it is time to call an attorney. By working with an attorney, you do not have to worry about filing the mountain of stressful paperwork that the workers’ compensation process requires. You do not have to gather and submit evidence of your injury.
You do not have to negotiate settlement terms with a multi-billion dollar insurance company. And, you do not have to go through the appeals process on your own if the claim is denied. A Green Bay workers’ compensation attorney is here to help. Contact Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf today at 414-257-2667 to schedule a free consultation with a Green Bay workers’ compensation lawyer.