The workers’ compensation process can be confusing and full of pitfalls. Strict deadlines, misinformation, legal language, and more can make filing for and obtaining benefits difficult. Many injured workers have little experience with the system, and this inexperience can result in small mistakes that carry big consequences. Already this year, the Iowa workers’ compensation commission has denied more than 2,500 of the 5,064 claims filed. The statistics and the system can be discouraging. For injured workers and their families, this makes for a frustrating experience and an uncertain future. An experienced attorney, however, can offer the legal support and effective advice to help you be successful.
Top 5 Reasons You Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
To protect your claim and have the best chance to obtain the compensation you deserve, it can be necessary to retain experienced legal representation. A workers’ compensation attorney can provide a variety of services that can ensure injured workers are able to be successful after an injury. The top reasons to hire an attorney include:
- Lawyers will take care of the stressful technical details. Injured workers and their families should be able to focus on what really matters after a work injury—getting better. This can be difficult when there is confusing, complex paperwork to be prepared and filed by specific deadlines. An attorney can ease that burden by making sure that all the necessary details are covered and official filings are complete and on time.
- Your employer and its insurance company are out to protect their own interests. Employers and insurance companies want to save as much of their money as possible. This means they will attempt to deny or delay even legitimate claims. The misinformation they often provide and the pressure they put upon injured workers can be overwhelming. Experienced attorneys have been there before, however, and they are ready to act as aggressive advocates to protect their clients’ rights.
- Experienced attorneys know your rights. Many times, injured workers accept benefits or settlements that are much lower than they deserve. Workers often have little experience with the law, and it can be difficult to know just what your claim is worth. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand your rights and pursue the maximum amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
- You may be able to pursue further compensation. In some cases, injured workers may be eligible for other government benefits or have a right to a third-party claim. While workers’ compensation typically shields employers from litigation, there are situations in which a civil suit against a person responsible for your injuries is warranted. An experienced attorney can assess your situation and help you determine how best to move forward.
- There’s no financial risk. Most workers’ compensation lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means that they do not get paid unless they successfully resolve your claim. Injured workers do not need to worry about paying for effective legal advice out of pocket.
Are Injured Workers’ Required to Hire an Attorney?
The law does not require that injured workers use the assistance of an attorney for a workers’ compensation claim. It is true that smaller, straightforward claims can often be resolved without legal help. However, many cases involve complicating factors. The Iowa workers’ compensation commission does advise injured workers to consider hiring legal counsel in certain situations, which include:
- Your injuries are very severe.
- Your claim has been denied.
- Your employer is disputing the claim.
- Your employer is retaliating against you for filing a claim.
- You experience a permanent disability.
- You also receive Social Security disability.
- You have a pre-existing condition.
The decisions of the Iowa workers’ compensation commission are binding, and it is not typically possible to revisit a final decision. For many injured workers, the medical care and wage replacement provided by the workers’ compensation system plays an important role in the success and stability of the future. Without these benefits, many families would face significant hardship and stress—physically, emotionally, and financially.
At Pothitakis Law Firm, our experienced Iowa workers’ compensation attorney has helped countless injured workers secure the care and compensation they needed to move forward with their lives. Call our office to speak to a member of our team. Find out more about who we are, what we do, and how we may be able to help.