by Karl Voigt
Do you need a Workers’ Compensation lawyer?
First of all, statistically speaking, most injured workers do eventually need a Workers’ Compensation lawyer. Over the life of your case, the insurance company will categorically use all the tools it has to reduce or even stop your Workers’ Compensation benefits. The question therefore is when do you need a Workers’ Compensation lawyer?
Truth is, it’s probably never too early in your case to consult with an attorney. Most attorneys won’t even charge for an initial consultation. That initial consultation can enlighten you as to what you can expect during the life of your claim. A good attorney will let you know when you can expect to actually need to hire an attorney. It is therefore important for injured workers to understand the difference between hiring an attorney and simply consulting with one. Consultations are free, whereas hiring an attorney means that you’re paying attorney. Keep in mind that Worker’s Compensation lawyers can’t collect a fee unless and until a judge approves of that.
One ordinarily has to hire an attorney when it’s time to go to court. Generally speaking, you’ll know when that time comes. For instance, if a vocational counselor contact syou to arrange for vocational interview, it’s time. If you were sent for an “independent” medical examination (IME) and the resultant report comes out against you, it’s time. When the insurance company files a petition against you, it’s time. When the insurance company is no longer paying your medical bills or proving your medical treatment, it’s probably time.
Always remember, however, that lawyers are generally happy to talk about your case with you even if it’s not that time. Free consultations can answer your questions and perhaps even lay out a long-term plan for the evolution of your case. It all starts with a phone call…