Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program set up by state law that employers pay into on behalf of their employees. If a worker is hurt while working, she can file a claim and receive benefits she is owed as a result of the injury.
Unfortunately, determining the benefits an injured worker is entitled to can be complicated. Many workers are unsure whether they qualify or how to go about filing claims. It can often help to enlist the aid of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who understands the legal landscape.
Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation
One of the biggest reasons people are not sure if they need a workers’ compensation attorney is because they are unsure if they even qualify for payments. While every case will need to be evaluated individually, the basic rule is that workers’ compensation covers injuries that workers suffer while on the job because of an “increased risk” that their job caused. Exactly what types of injuries meet these qualifications will depend on the specifics of a person’s job.
Another complex part of the law can be determining whether the increased risk of injury was caused by the job. Certainly, there are easy cases, like a construction worker injured by a power tool. However, some workers’ compensation covers much more than that. It also covers diseases that occurred because of exposure to chemicals on the job, or repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. These can be more difficult to link to a job.One of the determinators that changes from job to job is what qualifies as being injured “on the job.” For instance, injuries during work hours at the employee’s place of business are likely to be covered, but injuries away from work may be less likely to qualify for compensation. However, if the worker’s job requires a lot of travel, then injuries sustained during travel may be covered.
People are afraid to apply for benefits because they feel that they played a role in their own injury. This is not usually a problem. Even if a worker was injured by their own ordinary negligence, they will still typically qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
The Benefits of Hiring an Attorney
Even people who do believe that they have a right to workers’ compensation benefits may think it makes more sense to try to deal with the system on their own. While this is their right, there are many benefits to hiring a workers’ compensation attorney. Workers’ compensation attorneys spend their lives dealing with these type of cases. Not only do they understand the law, but they also have experience with the practical realities of working within a complex workers’ compensation system. Lawyers also have experience handling the investigation of on-the-job injuries, and they understand how to build the most persuasive case possible. Beyond that, lawyers will level the playing field since employers almost always have a lawyer on their side.
If you have been injured on the job and think you might qualify for workers’ compensation, reach out to a Naperville workers’ compensation attorney today to learn more about your rights. The attorneys at Woodruff Johnson & Evans are here to help you.