It's More To Us, It's Personal

Key Takeaways

Workers' compensation is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement to employees who are injured on the job.
Workers' comp also provides medical benefits to employees who are injured on the job.
Workers’ comp claims can be denied for several reasons.
The employer or insurance company may delay the reporting process or miss important federal deadlines to file the claim.
They could also claim the injury was pre-existing or not work-related.
Many people don’t know their rights or that they can appeal a denied workers comp claim.
If you have been injured on the job, it is important to consult an attorney immediately.
A workers comp lawyer will protect your rights to workers’ compensation.

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Proactive Protection – When to Hire a Workers Comp Lawyer

Key Takeaways

Workers' compensation is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement to employees who are injured on the job.
Workers' comp also provides medical benefits to employees who are injured on the job.
Workers’ comp claims can be denied for several reasons.
The employer or insurance company may delay the reporting process or miss important federal deadlines to file the claim.
They could also claim the injury was pre-existing or not work-related.
Many people don’t know their rights or that they can appeal a denied workers comp claim.
If you have been injured on the job, it is important to consult an attorney immediately.
A workers comp lawyer will protect your rights to workers’ compensation.

After a Work Accident, Call an Expert Workers' Compensation Attorney for Legal Support.

Even the most everyday jobs can harbor unexpected dangers. You might be a waitress on the afternoon shift who slipped on a wet floor - now you’re dealing with a broken wrist, weeks of lost wages, and months of ongoing joint pain. Maybe you’re a construction worker dealing with a slipped disc and strained lower back after falling from a scaffold. In more severe cases, you could be facing a life-altering injury.

Maybe you're lying on the factory floor, your body aching and your head pounding. You can't remember what happened, but you know you're hurt. A few hours later, you're sitting in the hospital bed, both legs paralyzed, facing an uncertain future. You were the sole earner in your family - now you wonder how you’re going to support them, with no means of income and a mountain of medical debt. Now, you're sitting at home about a week after your injury. You're still taking medication for the pain, and you're struggling to cope with the stress and financial hardship of a sudden disability. The insurance rep you were just talking to just offered you a reduced workers’ compensation settlement, claiming your pre-existing back issues mean you cannot receive full workers’ comp benefits. You're starting to lose hope.

Whether you're dealing with minor injuries or facing the aftermath of a major accident, the stress and financial strain of making a workers’ comp claim can be overwhelming. More than 7% of applicants’ initial workers’ compensation claims are denied - and far more are reduced. As insurance companies are often reluctant to pay out workers' compensation benefits, they may try to deny your claim or offer you an inadequate settlement to meet your need - claiming that you were under the influence, your accident happened outside work duties, your injuries were worsened by a pre-existing condition, etc. After a work accident, it’s important to contact an experienced workers' compensation lawyer as soon as you possibly can - continue reading to discover why.

What is Workers' Compensation?

Since 1911, workers’ compensation has served as a crucial safety net for U.S. employees dealing with work related injuries or illnesses. Its main objectives are twofold: one, to shield employers from legal responsibility, and two, to provide financial and medical support to workers battling the physical and financial consequences of a severe work injury. Without the support of workers' compensation, workers would be left to cope with the consequences of their injuries in isolation, facing lost earnings and enormous medical expenses. Workers' compensation ensures that workers are provided with the means to recover physically and emotionally, continue to support their families, and access necessary medical treatment without falling into overwhelming debt.

Workers' compensation is primarily a state-based system, with each state setting its own laws and regulations. There are some exceptions to this - in the case of federal employees, the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) governs workers' compensation benefits. FECA provides similar benefits as state workers' compensation systems, but for federal employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. It’s also important to note that workers' compensation laws and eligibility criteria can vary significantly from state to state. As a result, the workers’ comp claims process and available benefits may vary depending on the location where the injury occurred. Benefits are typically provided through private insurance companies that specialize in workers' compensation coverage. Employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance, either through a private insurance provider or, in some cases, through a state-administered workers' compensation fund. The insurance company or the state fund then handles the claims process and disburses benefits to eligible injured workers.

One unique aspect of workers' compensation is its "no-fault" nature. Under workers’ comp law, injured workers do not have to demonstrate that their employer was at fault for their injury or illness to receive benefits. Instead, benefits are issued based on whether the injury or illness is work-related. This ensures that injured workers aren’t burdened with the need to prove employer negligence, and allows them to access the assistance they need quickly and easily - most of the time.

Workers' Compensation and High-Risk Industries

Certain industries, such as construction, railroad work, and trucking, are historically associated with a higher rate of workers' compensation claims due to the nature of the work involved. When it comes to worker safety, one of the most infamous of these industries is mining. Both historically and today, this industry consistently tops the charts for workers' comp claims.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that despite significant leaps in safety standards, mining has one of the highest rates of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses among private industry sectors. Tunnel collapses, exposure to harmful gases and substances, and accidents with heavy machinery all put miners at an elevated risk of serious work-related injuries and long-term illnesses. One of the most significant health hazards for miners is black lung disease, or "coal workers' pneumoconiosis." This disease is caused by the long-term accumulation of coal dust in the lungs, which leads to inflammation, fibrosis, and in severe cases, necrosis. Despite advancements in safety measures and protective equipment, cases of black lung disease have seen an unfortunate resurgence in recent years, particularly among miners in regions where thinner coal seams result in the inhalation of larger amounts of dust. Black lung disease has claimed the lives of 78,000 coal miners since 1977, and its effects have been felt by thousands more.

For injured miners and their families, it can be crucial to seek professional legal help in navigating the workers’ compensation process. Filing a claim is an intricate procedure with tight deadlines - when your injuries are severe or long-term, as they often are in mining incidents, physical and legal complications can multiply, making the expertise of a workers' comp lawyer essential.

workers compensation lawyers

Why Are Workers’ Comp Claims Denied?

There are several reasons why a workers’ comp claim might be denied. Disputes often arise between the injured worker, the employer, and the insurance company over the validity of the claim or the extent of benefits to be provided. Unfortunately, many insurance companies are motivated primarily by greed. These companies often seek to deny valid workers' compensation claims in order to save money. The most common reasons for the reduction or denial of workers’ comp claims include:

One common reason for denied workers' comp claims is the delay in reporting the incident. Many states have strict reporting deadlines, and failing to notify the employer within the specified timeframe can give insurers an excuse to deny the claim, arguing that they were not given the opportunity to investigate the incident properly.

Comprehensive medical documentation is crucial in supporting a workers' comp claim. Insurance companies may deny a claim if the medical evidence provided is insufficient or inconsistent, making it challenging to establish a direct connection between the workplace incident and the injury or illness.

Insurers often use pre-existing conditions as grounds for denying claims. If they can attribute an employee's injury or illness partially or entirely to a pre-existing condition, they may deny the claim, leaving the injured worker without the compensation they deserve.

Sometimes, insurance companies contest the cause of the injury, arguing that it did not occur during the course of employment or that it resulted from activities unrelated to work. Such disputes can lead to claim denials and protracted legal battles.

When employers fail to submit accurate and timely reports of workplace injuries, it can complicate the claims process. Insurance companies may seize upon these discrepancies as a reason to deny the claim, shifting the burden of proof back onto the injured worker.

Apart from reporting delays, there are also strict deadlines for filing workers' comp claims. If the injured worker misses the filing deadline, the insurance company may exploit this technicality to deny the claim outright.

Insurance companies sometimes require injured employees to undergo an Independent Medical Examination conducted by a doctor of their choice. Unfortunately, these IMEs can be biased, leading to a denial of the claim based on the doctor's assessment.

The severity of a worker's disability plays a significant role in determining the compensation they receive. Insurance companies may dispute the extent of the disability as stated by the worker's treating physician, leading to reduced benefits or claim denial.

If an injured employee fails to follow their prescribed treatment plan after an accident, insurance companies may argue that their lack of compliance exacerbated the condition.

Some companies misclassify employees as independent contractors or temporary workers to avoid providing workers' comp coverage. When injuries occur, these misclassified workers may face denied claims due to their incorrect employment status.

Why Most People Don't Appeal a Reduced or Denied Claim:

Even if a workers' compensation claim is denied, the employee may still have the right to appeal the decision. Many avoid this course of action for several reasons:

They don't know their rights. Many people are not aware of their rights under workers' compensation law. They may not know that they have the right to appeal a denial or that they can get help from an attorney.

They're afraid of retaliation. Some employees are afraid that if they fight against a denied claim, they will be retaliated against by their employer. This could mean being fired, demoted, or given a heavier workload.

They don't have the time or resources. Fighting a denied claim can be a long and difficult process. It can take months or even years to resolve a case. Some people simply don't have the time or resources to fight a denied claim.

It is important to remember that insurance companies are not your friends. They are businesses that are motivated by profit. If you have been injured on the job, it is important to speak to an experienced workers' compensation attorney to protect your rights. An attorney can help you file a claim, appeal a denial, and fight for the benefits you deserve.

If You’ve Been in a Work Accident, Hire a Workers Compensation Lawyer Today.

Why?

1. In-Depth Legal Knowledge:

With extensive knowledge of the legal process involved in filing and pursuing a workers' comp claim, workers' compensation lawyers are well-versed in any necessary requirements, deadlines, and procedures. In cases involving severe injuries, occupational illnesses, or denied claims, workers' comp lawyers can navigate complex legal issues and appeals, ensuring their injured client’s rights are protected.

2. Expert Negotiation Skills:

With experience in dealing with insurance companies and employers, workers' comp attorneys can negotiate on behalf of the injured workers to secure fair compensation. They present compelling evidence and persuasive arguments to maximize the value of the claim, ensuring rightful compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and related costs.

3. Higher Chances of Claim Success:

Partnering with a workers' comp lawyer significantly increases the likelihood of a favorable outcome in a claim. These attorneys provide informed legal advice, help injured workers meet requirements and deadlines, gather supporting evidence, and negotiate for fair settlements. Most importantly, a good workers' compensation attorney will have the legal expertise to ensure their client receives the maximum compensation allowed by law.

4. Peace of Mind and Focus

It’s important not to discount the fact that hiring a workers' compensation lawyer can provide unparalleled peace of mind. While you focus on recovering from your injuries, your attorney will handle all aspects of the case, from evidence collection to negotiations.

5. Contingency Fees

At Wettermark Keith, our workers' compensation lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if the claim is successful. Partnering with one of our attorneys allows you to access top-notch legal representation without any upfront costs.

When?

You should hire a workers' compensation lawyer if you have suffered a workplace injury or illness and are having difficulty obtaining the workers' comp benefits. Some situations where you need an attorney include:

Your workers' comp claim has been denied, delayed, or disputed by your employer or the insurance company.

You have a pre-existing condition that is complicating your claim.

Your injury is severe and will require ongoing medical treatment or leave you with a permanent disability.

You are not receiving appropriate medical treatment for your injury.

You have been offered a settlement that does not adequately compensate you for your injury or lost wages.

In these situations, a workers' compensation lawyer can help protect your legal rights, ensure you receive appropriate medical treatment, and negotiate on your behalf for the highest compensation possible.

Experienced Workers Comp Attorneys: Your Path to Recovery

With offices located throughout Alabama, Tennessee and Florida, Wettermark Keith has an excellent reputation as one of the most accomplished personal injury firms in the country. Wettermark Keith’s reach is not only regional, but it also includes a diverse range of practice areas, including workers’ compensation cases. Our firm operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing out of pocket. Any legal fees and associated costs will be collected from your winnings at the conclusion of the case. If your lawyer is not able to obtain a verdict or settlement for your injury, you will not be charged any legal fees for their efforts.

At Wettermark Keith, we believe in taking cases personally. Our purpose is to practice with care and compassion - to tell our clients’ stories and make their voices heard. We do this by building strong relationships based on constant communication and an unwavering dedication to truth and trust. Winning cases isn’t our goal - caring for you is. Winning is just how we show it. It’s more to us, it’s personal.

5 Ways a Wettermark Keith Workers Comp Lawyer Can Help You:

If you’ve been injured on the job, our workers' compensation lawyers can offer tailored legal advice to guide you through the complexities of the workers' comp system. Having access to professional advice and support can help you make informed decisions about your claim, and provide a better chance of receiving the compensation they deserve for your injuries and losses.

Comprehensive medical documentation is crucial in supporting a workers' comp claim. Insurance companies may deny a claim if the medical evidence provided is insufficient or inconsistent, making it challenging to establish a direct connection between the workplace incident and the injury or illness.

The first priority of your workers' comp lawyer is to ensure your rights are protected. Our workers' comp lawyers will leverage their comprehensive knowledge of labor laws and regulations to advocate on your behalf, standing up against insurance companies and employers who may seek to deny or downplay your rightful compensation. From the initial filing of your claim to potential negotiations and, if necessary, court representation, your workers' comp lawyer will be with you every step of the way.

Our workers' compensation lawyers will ensure that you are receiving the proper medical care and treatment for your specific injuries. If your medical treatment is delayed or denied by the insurance company or employer, the attorney can take legal action. Additionally, your lawyer will work with medical professionals to document the extent of your injuries and ensure that you receive the necessary compensation to cover all medical expenses and ongoing care.

When you're fighting to rebuild your life after a workplace injury, securing the highest possible compensation is an absolute necessity. These negotiations aren't just about numbers on a page; they represent your livelihood, your future, and your ability to move forward.Your workers' comp attorney can accurately assess the value of your claim, taking into account medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. You can have peace of mind knowing that you have a skilled lawyer working around the clock to secure a fair outcome for your claim.

Frequently Asked Questions

In many cases, it is a good idea to hire a workers' compensation lawyer, especially if your employer is disputing your claim or if you have suffered a serious injury that requires ongoing medical treatment or that will prevent you from returning to work. A workers' compensation lawyer can help ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to under the law and can also help you navigate the legal system. Additionally, workers' compensation lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies and employers to ensure that their clients receive the maximum workers' comp benefits possible. They can also help injured workers understand their legal rights and obligations and provide representation in court if necessary. If you are facing a challenging workers' comp situation, don't hesitate to seek the help of an experienced attorney who can fight for your rights and help you move forward with your life.

The length of time it takes to reach a workers' compensation settlement varies depending on the circumstances of the case. Some settlements can be reached relatively quickly, while others may take months or even years to resolve. Factors that can impact the timeline include the severity of the injury, the complexity of the case, and the cooperation of the employer and insurance company. An experienced workers' compensation lawyer can help expedite the process by advocating for their client's interests and negotiating aggressively on their behalf. While there are no guarantees in the legal system, working with a skilled attorney can improve your chances of receiving a fair settlement in a reasonable timeframe.

Hiring a workers' compensation attorney can be beneficial due to their legal expertise, which helps navigate complex laws and ensures maximum benefits. They can assist with claims processing, ensuring accurate paperwork and timely submissions to avoid denials or delays. Attorneys can negotiate with insurance companies for fair settlements and represent you in hearings or trials if needed.

However, there are drawbacks. Costs can be high, typically 15-25% of your benefits. There's potential for conflict if your interests differ from your attorney's advice. Legal proceedings can be time-consuming and stressful, requiring your active participation. Additionally, there's no guarantee of success even with an attorney.

The purpose of a Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME) is to provide an independent medical evaluation of an injured worker's medical condition and to determine whether the injury is work-related. The QME can also provide recommendations for medical treatment and work restrictions. A QME is typically appointed by the state's Division of Workers' Compensation and is required in cases where there is a dispute between the injured worker, the employer, and the insurance company regarding the nature and extent of the injury. The QME evaluation is an essential part of the workers' compensation process, as it can help determine the injured worker's eligibility for workers' comp benefits and the amount of compensation they are entitled to receive. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can help injured workers navigate the QME process and ensure that their rights are protected throughout the evaluation and treatment phases.

In general, a compromise is an agreement in which both sides give up something in order to reach a settlement. A settlement, on the other hand, is an agreement in which one side agrees to pay a certain amount of money or provide some other benefit in exchange for the other side giving up their legal claim. In the context of workers' compensation cases, a compromise and release settlement is a type of settlement in which the injured worker gives up their right to any further workers' compensation benefits related to the injury in exchange for a lump sum payment. In contrast, a stipulated award settlement is an agreement that provides for ongoing workers' comp benefits, such as medical treatment and disability payments, for a specified period of time. An attorney can help injured workers understand the pros and cons of each type of settlement and negotiate the best possible outcome on their behalf.

Our workers' compensation lawyers typically work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they only get paid if they are successful in obtaining workers' comp benefits or a settlement on behalf of the injured worker. Our lawyer's fee is usually a percentage of the workers' comp benefits or settlement amount. This fee arrangement can be beneficial for injured workers who may not have the financial resources to pay for legal representation upfront. It's important to note that while the attorney's fee is deducted from the final settlement amount, the injured worker may still receive a larger amount overall than if they had not hired one of our attorneys to represent them.

The duration of workers' comp benefits varies depending on the state laws and the severity of the injury. In general, workers' comp benefits can last until the injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI) or is deemed fit to return to work by a medical professional. In some cases, permanent disability benefits may be available for workers with long-term impairments. Your workers' compensation lawyer can guide you through the specific time limits and benefit durations applicable to your situation.

Yes, it is possible to return to work while still receiving workers' comp benefits. In some cases, an injured worker may be able to return to work with certain work restrictions or accommodations. When returning to work, the wages earned may impact the amount of ongoing workers' comp benefits. It is essential to communicate with your employer and workers' comp insurance provider to ensure a smooth transition back to work.

Your workers' comp lawyer will require various documents and evidence to strengthen your claim. This may include medical records, accident reports, witness statements, photographic evidence, and any correspondence with your employer or insurance company. Your lawyer may also need documentation related to your lost wages and other financial losses due to the injury. Providing thorough and accurate information to your attorney will help them build a strong case on your behalf.

Workers' compensation benefits typically do not include compensation for pain and suffering. The workers' comp system is designed to provide medical treatment, wage replacement, and disability benefits to cover specific economic losses resulting from a work-related injury or illness. However, in some cases, if a third party's negligence contributed to your workplace injury, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit outside of the workers' comp system, which may allow you to seek compensation for pain and suffering. Your workers' comp lawyer can assess your situation and advise you on the best course of action.

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If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.