Can I represent myself in my worker’s compensation case instead of hiring an attorney?
If you are filing a workers’ compensation claim, you may be wondering if you can handle it yourself. In most cases, this would not be in your best interest. Here, we explain the limited circumstances when you can safely resolve your claim and when hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney is essential.
When You Can Handle Your Own Workers’ Compensation Claim
There are a number of steps you must follow when filing a workers’ compensation claim, and having a lawyer guide you through the process can ensure that you do not make mistakes that hurt your claim. However, if all of the following apply to your situation, you could probably represent yourself:
- Your injury was minor, like a small cut or a sprained wrist.
- You did not have a pre-existing condition to the same body part.
- You took no or very little time off work due to your injury.
- Your employer admits that your injury was caused by a workplace accident.
When You Need an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Even if you believe that your workers’ compensation claim is cut and dried, disputes can arise, and your claim can become complicated. Here are situations when it is best to retain a lawyer:
Your Claim Is Not Paid Or Is Delayed
Some legitimate claims are denied by the insurance company in the hopes that the worker will not appeal the decision or are paid slowly to save money. Hiring an attorney can ensure that your legal rights under Georgia workers’ compensation laws are protected.
The Insurance Company’s Offer Is Unfair
You cannot count on your employer’s insurance company to agree to pay you all the benefits you are entitled to when you have been involved in a dispute or you suffered any serious injury. An attorney can properly value your claim and be certain that you receive this amount of benefits.
Your Injuries Limit Your Ability To Work
If you suffered a permanent injury, it may prevent you from returning to your former job or to work at all. Calculating how long you receive payments and the amount your impairment is worth can be complex and is not something you are qualified to do on your own. In addition, the insurance company may fight your claim for longer and harder because of the increased value of your claim. Your attorney will have strategies to defeat arguments raised by the insurance company.
You Are Receiving Social Security Benefits
If you are eligible for both social security disability and workers’ comp benefits, your settlement agreement must be drafted so that your worker’s compensation benefits are not used to offset your social security payments.
You Are The Victim Of Retaliation
Although it is illegal to so, some employers will retaliate against workers by firing them, demoting them, paying them less, or taking other actions to punish them for filing a workers’ comp claim. If you find yourself in this situation, you should retain a lawyer immediately.
Have You Been Injured At Work?
If you’ve been injured on the job you need to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Augusta office directly at 706.863.6600 to schedule your free consultation.