Workers’ Compensation is an intricate field of law. The insurance carrier will usually try to delay your claim or contest any and all elements they can find a reason to, especially for technicalities, and without the help of an attorney you may be left with delayed medical coverage, delayed wage benefits, or both. You may not even know why the insurance carrier is able to get away with certain things in court, and therefore you may never be able to salvage your case. There are also other benefits you may be entitled to after a couple of years from your date of accident that the insurance company may not voluntarily share with you, and settlement offers that may be made that you may not be able to tell are fair and reasonable to your claim. Your attorney will be there to guide you every step of the way, fight for you, and make sure you have everything you need in order to maximize your recovery in this difficult situation.
Additionally, there are no up-front costs of hiring an attorney. Attorneys generally only get paid 15% of the money they are able to move to you through their litigation efforts and 1/3 of one week’s continued payments they are able to secure on your behalf. If you are offered a lump sum award at any time, attorneys will normally ask for 15% of that amount in attorney’s fees, and if they are able to classify you with a permanent disability, they normally ask for 10 times the class rate that they obtain on your behalf (which is only a small fraction of your total compensation from the classification, and which is paid not at once but over time).
In order to have an attorney represent you, you should sign an OC-400 retainer agreement as well as a few HIPAA release forms, and return the signed copies to your attorney's attention as soon as possible. Once your attorney receives the signed copy of the retainer from you, the attorney will sign it, and submit it to the Workers’ Compensation Board and the Insurance Carrier. From that moment on your attorney will contact them on your behalf. It is important to note that your attorney does not represent you until the attorney has signed the retainer agreement. So you must return the signed copy of the retainer to your attorney in order to ensure that you are being represented by that attorney, and that attorney is able to speak on your behalf and be present at your hearings.