How to Tell If You Need a Workers Comp Lawyer

Important: We updated this article in June 2022 with new, more relevant information. If you’ve been injured at work, then you may consider getting a workers comp lawyer. But before you do so, realize that there are times when it is possible to represent yourself. If your workplace injury is minor or your employer admits it’s work-related, then you probably don’t need an attorney. Plus, if your company has a competent human resources department, then you might be covered. But there are definitely times when retaining a workers comp lawyer is in your best interest. Especially if your injury is severe, or your case is complex.

When Would I Need a Workers Comp Lawyer?

There are multiple reasons why you might need a workers comp lawyer. Here are just a few:

  • You have preexisting conditions. Preexisting conditions make it difficult to tell what part of your injury/illness is work-related. If the injury/illness has to do with your preexisting condition, you need a lawyer.
  • Your injury results in a permanent disability (partial or total). This requires an attorney, since you may need long-term workers’ comp, disability benefits, or both.
  • Your doctors can’t agree. Sometimes your doctor and the workers’ comp provider your company makes you see disagree. This can disrupt your treatment, forcing you back to work too soon. A workers comp lawyer can buy you time to rest and recover.
  • You wish to appeal a denied claim. Insurers often reject legitimate claims. Why? They know you won’t appeal. An attorney is vital whenever you appeal a denial.
  • Your employer’s settlement isn’t enough. If it won’t cover all lost wages or medical bills, you need a workers comp lawyer. All settlements need judicial approval. But most judges will agree to nearly anything that’s not extremely unfair. Lawyers get you the most money.
  • You have a mental anguish claim for stress, PTSD, etc.
  • Your boss retaliates. If your boss fires or demotes you, reduces your hours or pay, or discriminates against you, get a lawyer. Retaliation is illegal, and an attorney can help. It’s also illegal for new jobs to use your workers’ comp history as a reason not to hire you.
  • You have a potential third-party claim. If a third party contributed to your illness/injury, legally, you can sue. Because this is much more complex, you’ll need an attorney.
  • You receive Social Security disability benefits. Do you get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? If so, you must pay taxes on workers’ comp. The workers comp offset rule also reduces your benefits. An attorney can help minimize this offset.

In Some Cases, You May Not Need a Workers Comp Lawyer

Not all claims require an attorney. However, complex claims can make consulting one a smart move. They’ll help you get all benefits you deserve and structure an ideal payment plan. Doing so will allow you to rest and recover, so you can return to work as soon as possible.

We can match you with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for free, confidential advice. Maybe you want a second, unbiased opinion about your case. Or perhaps you need someone to help you file an appeal. Regardless, an experienced workers comp lawyer is always your best option.

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Mandy Voisin is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Girls of the Ocean and Star of Deliverance. As an accomplished content marketing consultant, mom of four and doctor's wife, Mandy has written hundreds of articles about dangerous drugs and medical devices, medical issues that impact disabled Americans, veterans' healthcare and workers' compensation issues since 2016.