So, you’ve been injured at work, do you still need an attorney? The general rule is, the more harmed you are, the more you need an attorney, but when you’re injured at work, the question becomes a little more complicated. That’s because when you’re injured at work, you typically have two types of claims. The first type of claim is a workers compensation claim. That’s a claim for the insurance benefits available under your employer’s workers compensation policy. The second type of claim is commonly referred to as a third party claim or a personal injury claim. In terms of which claim requires an attorney, it depends upon which claim you’re looking at. The workers compensation claim typically does not require that you hire an attorney. In a workers compensation claim, you don’t have to prove anyone was at fault and you don’t have to, in fact there’s no need to prove the wide array of harms and losses that you may have suffered because your compensation is basically tied to a fixed formula. The only time you might really need an attorney in a workers compensation claim would be if someone’s contesting whether or not you were actually injured on the job, or whether or not you actually suffered an injury, in other words, was it a pre-existing condition.
You might also need an attorney in a workers compensation claim if they’re disputing what your wage rate was or whether or not the medical care that you need really is needed. If you need a workers compensation attorney, we here at Roberts and Roberts can refer you to someone who specializes in that area of the law, but as a general rule, most people do not need an attorney for just a workers compensation claim. Now, the other type of claim is the third party claim, and if you have a serious injury and someone else is at fault that does not work for your employer then you probably do need an attorney. In those types of claims, you have to prove the other party was at fault and that’s where you need the assistance of an attorney.
You also have to prove the wide array of harms and losses that you may have suffered and, again, that’s where an attorney can be of tremendous help. You should only consider the third party claim, however, if your injury is serious and the compensation that you deserve exceeds what you’re receiving from the workers compensation insurance policy covering you at work. Another reason why you may want to hire an attorney if you’re going to pursue that third party claim is to coordinate the insurance benefits that you receive. If you’re not careful when you pursue the third party claim and receive the insurance available to you from the other third party that was negligent or their insurance company then it may well cut off your right to future medical care under the workers compensation policy. That is a valuable right and you do not want to jeopardize that right. Again, it’s worth consulting with an attorney if you’re injured on the job and someone else was at fault.