There are situations where you can represent yourself in a workers’ comp case. However, those situations usually involve very simple injuries or extremely cooperative employers. Unfortunately, those types of situations are relatively rare. A worker’s compensation lawyer can be extremely helpful in more complicated cases.
When Can I Represent Myself?
The workers’ compensation system is designed to provide employees benefits like lost wage payments and medical care without the hassle and expense of litigation. That also means that it was designed for employees to be able to move through the system on their own—without a lawyer. Unfortunately, however, this really is only possible in a few situations:
- When you have just a minor workplace injury that will not have any permanent side effects or damage
- When you have missed little to no work for recovery from your injury
- When your employer admits that your injury occurred at work and that there is coverage in your situation
- You do not have any previous problems with that area of your body prior to the work injury
All of these criteria should be met before you forgo a workers’ comp lawyer and go it alone.
You may still want to schedule a free consultation with a workers’ comp lawyer even if you do meet all of these criteria. He or she can walk you through the process and explain what is about to happen in your case. Even if you ultimately do not hire this attorney, this type of information can be very helpful moving forward.
Situations Where You Definitely Need a Workers’ Comp Lawyer
The Massachusetts legislature had a great idea when they developed the workers’ compensation system. Unfortunately, they did not count on employers and insurance companies making it so difficult to get benefits by challenging an employee’s claim at every turn.
Because of the contentious nature of this system today, having a workers’ comp lawyer is often essential.
You will definitely need a lawyer if any of the following apply to your situation:
- The employer or insurance company are telling you that your injury is not work-related or is not covered
- The employer or insurance company is offering you a settlement that will not cover all of your medical bills and lost wages
- Your work injury prevents you from returning to your prior job, a similar job, or from returning to work at all
- You receive Social Security disability benefits
- You have a potential third party claim (such as in car accidents or slip and fall situations)
- The insurance company or employer will not work with you or refuses to return your phone calls
- You lose your job after your work injury
Your attorney will be able to help you determine how much your case is really worth so that you can accept a fair settlement if and when it is offered. Otherwise, you could be settling for far less than what your medical bills or lost wages will be due to your injury.
Your workers’ comp lawyer can also help you communicate with the employer and the insurance company effectively. When you feel like you are not being heard or no one is taking you seriously, a lawyer can definitely help. Contact Jim Glaser Law to set up your free consultation today.