When to Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer

Portrait of lawyer helping man with neck brace filling legal forms after accident - when to hire a workers' comp lawyer concept

If you have suffered a workplace injury, the first question you might have is whether you need to hire a lawyer. You may also be wondering what a Workers’ Compensation lawyer does, and if they can help you with achieving a better outcome to your case. Although many injured workers might feel overwhelmed by the prospect of hiring an attorney to assist them with their claim, there are many cases in which having counsel is not only beneficial — but crucial.

If you are asking yourself when to hire a workers’ comp lawyer, retaining one is essential under the following circumstances:

L&I Has Denied Your Claim

If the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has denied your claim, you may appeal the decision. However, the process for filing an appeal can be complicated. There will be a hearing involved, which is similar to a trial. It is crucial to have legal representation for the appeals process. Not only will an attorney be familiar with the applicable rules, but they can help ensure all relevant evidence is admitted in support of your claim, and fight for the full benefits you are eligible to receive.

Your Employer Denies Your Injury Happened in the Workplace

In order to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits, your injury must have occurred within the scope of your employment. In the event your employer denies that your injury happened while you were on-the-job, it’s critical to have a Workers’ Compensation lawyer who can fight for your right to receive the benefits for which you are entitled. A lawyer can assist you with gathering evidence that establishes the legitimacy of your claim and advocate on your behalf.

You Have a Pre-Existing Condition

If you have a pre-existing health condition, you are not disqualified from receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits. However, the Department of Labor & Industries or an employer may try to argue that your pre-existing condition is what caused your current condition, rather than the workplace accident, in order to reduce the benefits they would have to pay. Pre-existing conditions can, for example, include herniated discs, torn ligaments, knee injuries, degeneration, and arthritis. Even if your workplace accident affected the same part of the body as your prior injury or condition, you may still be able to receive benefits if it aggravated the old injury.

You Have Been Asked to Attend an Independent Medical Exam

Even if you have been approved to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits, you may be asked to attend an independent medical examination. Commonly referred to as an “IME,” these exams can be ordered by L&I to determine the status of your condition. If you have received a notice requesting your attendance at an IME, it is essential to obtain the legal advice you need to help ensure your benefits are not unfairly cut off.

You Need Help Navigating the Workers’ Compensation Claims Process

The Workers’ Compensation process can be overwhelming and stressful for those who are not familiar with it. Whether your claim is straightforward or complex, there is a considerable amount of paperwork involved, a strict statute of limitations, and various regulations that must be adhered to. A Workers’ Compensation attorney can guide you through the legal nuances, help take the burden off your shoulders, and provide you with peace of mind. They can also advise you regarding the issues that could potentially hurt your claim, as well as strengthen it.

Contact an Experienced Washington Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

A workplace injury can be physically and financially devastating. If you were hurt at your place of work, you may be legally entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. The Bellingham Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Robinson & Kole provide high-quality legal services to injured workers throughout Washington State and strive to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved in every case. We welcome you to contact us for a free consultation by calling 800.640.5616 or by using our online contact form. Se habla Español.