Would you Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight?
Officially and Legally you do not need an Attorney, in fact the official claim form will tell you that. And while the Insurance Company or your Employer are required by law to provide you with each and every benefit you are entitled it just does not work that work that way.
An attorney will help you to identify the issues and your rights, and martial the evidence to prove it.
Determine Amount of Benefits Due: There are many rights that the Injured Worker has that are open to interpretation. It is not hard to understand that the Employer or the Employer's Insurance Company may tend to interpret in order to save themselves money. For example, the amount of both temporary and permanent disability payments are related to the amount of income the Injured Worker was making at the time of the injury. However, there are several different ways of calculating this. By way of example, actual earnings at time of injury, or average earnings over the last year from all sources, or even earning capacity. An attorney can assist you in identifying the issue, determining which law applies best for you, and in marshaling the evidence to prove it.
The amount of Permanent Disability is also open to interpretation. There is a schedule that is presumptively correct, however there are times when this schedule can and should be challenged. This again, is where an attorney can be of assistance.
Identification of Body Parts and Injured Systems. The body is complex, and what may appear a simple injury to one body part, can effect other body parts and systems, increase in blood pressure, or emotional problems. Or perhaps you injured your right arm, and now your left hurts from using it to compensate for not being able to use the right.
Securing of Medical Treatment. Your doctor may feel you need treatment, and the Employer or Insurance Company may have sent the request for review and made the determination that the requested treatment does not fall with in the proper guidelines. They may not be correct, or there may be reason to provide the treatment even though it is not within the guidelines being used.
Mismanagement of Claim by Adjuster is asserted to have caused the death of the injured worker. Romano v. Kroger.
In Romano v. Kroger, the poor handling of the claim, and failure to provide timely medical treatment is being asserted as the cause of the Injured Workers' death. There has already been a finding by the court that there were delayed or refused medical treatment reimbursements. For an interesting article see Workers' Comp & Bad Faith: Unacceptable Oversight, by Everette Lee Herndon.
These are a only a few examples, but the over and over again an attorney will be able to help you identify the Injured Workers Rights, and martial the evidence to prove it.
Experience Counts: How do you know if what you are being offered is appropriate? There is always risk to litigation, or taking a case to trial. Some times it is necessary, and sometimes you can do better if you settle your case by agreement. An experienced Attorney can assist you in both negotiating a settlement and making the determination if an offered settlement is worth taking. Further when an offer being made is appropriate, an experienced attorney can assist you making sure the settlement agreement is not lopsided favoring the Employer or Insurance Company and can make sure you know and understand what you are agreeing to.