Many workers' compensation claims are processed without litigation or even the involvement of a lawyer. In many cases, injured employees only seek legal help if their claims are denied. However, just because your claim has been settled, it doesn't always mean you won't require the services of a workers' compensation attorney. You may still have need of a lawyer if your case has the following complications:
Your Settlement Offer Isn't Good Enough
You need a lawyer to evaluate your claim if you feel the offer is inadequate. This may be the case, for example, if you disagree with your employer on the value of lost wages. This may also be the case if you disagree with your physician's assessment of your disability—for example, if you suspect your disability is permanent, and they claim it is temporary. In both cases, a workers' compensation lawyer may help you prove your claims and get the compensation you deserve.
You Are Receiving or Pursuing SSDI
If you are receiving both workers compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) simultaneously, then one or the other may be reduced. In most states, if your combined SSDI and workers' compensation benefits exceed 80% of your pre-disability average earnings, then your workers' compensation benefits are reduced.
Luckily, there are ways of minimizing the effect of one benefit on the other. However, most of these minimization opportunities are complex and may require the input of a lawyer. Therefore, consult a lawyer if you are receiving or expect to receive both benefits at the same time.
Your Employer Has Retaliated against You
Ideally, your employer shouldn't give you unfavorable treatment for filing a workers' compensation claim, even if the claim has the potential to increase the employer's employment rates. However, this hasn't stopped some employers from reducing injured employees' payments, demoting them, or even firing them. Consult a lawyer if you suspect your employer is treating you differently after you've been injured and filed a claim.
You Have a Return-to-Work Disagreement
Finally, it's also a good idea to consult an attorney if you don't agree with your employer on when you should return to work. This may happen, for example, if you feel your treating physician's assessment of your recovery isn't accurate, but your employer concurs with the assessment.
These aren't the only situations that warrant consulting a workers' compensation lawyer; you may consult a lawyer any time you are injured at work. However, the situations discussed above are likely to complicate your workers' compensation claim, and it's easier to handle them with an attorney's involvement. Find a lawyer through a firm like Locklin & Mordhorst to get started.