Imagine you are at work and have to move a stack of boxes. Halfway through lifting one, your boss shoots you with a bow and arrow. He doesn’t really, but the pain shooting through your shoulder and neck makes you think he did. Whether it turns out to be a pulled muscle or a slipped disc, you’re going to need medical help. That means you’re about to enter the workers compensation maze. A great idea would be to call a work comp lawyer in El Paso TX.
Signs You Should Get a Work Comp Lawyer
How your company, or more importantly, its insurance carrier, handles your case will determine whether it’s in your best interest to get a lawyer. Here are 10 signs you need a work comp lawyer in El Paso, TX. in your case.
· Your employer or insurance carrier denies it happened at work – This is often the case when a slight injury happens at work and goes unreported. That injury is aggravated further at work, suddenly becomes serious and the employer/carrier says the original injury didn’t occur at work. This also happens when the long-term effects of exposure to something at work result in a disease.
· Your employer drags its feet with your claim – If you’re injured on the job, you should immediately notify your employer and start the reporting process. The company must provide you with the proper paperwork, report your case to the state workers comp board and file a claim with its insurance carrier. Reporting regulations and deadlines vary from state to state, but it should typically take no longer than 30 days to complete this process.
· If you suffer permanent disability, either partial or total, that will prevent you from ever fully returning to work – Insurance companies are more likely to contest such claims because they are the most expensive.
· Your doctor recommends treatment and the insurance company won’t pay for it – This too is a common practice when an injured worker’s recovery means rehabilitation visits that an insurance company doesn’t think are necessary.
· If the insurance company denies your claim – If you appeal that decision – and you should if you feel your claim is legitimate – this is where things can get complicated and expert advice is needed. “If it gets contentious, if there’s a disagreement, then it’s time to get a lawyer,” Branham said.
· If the settlement offer doesn’t cover all lost wages and medical bills – Most worker comp settlements are for permanent disability benefits, which are based on a rating system determined by examining doctors. If the insurance company doesn’t agree with the rating, it can require you to get an independent medical exam (IME) by a doctor of its choosing. Chances are that the doctor will give you a lower rating than what you (and your sore neck) feel you deserve. An El Paso, TX work comp lawyer can help convince a judge you are entitled to a higher rating.
· You have a pre-existing condition – If you already had neck problems before lifting that heavy box, the insurance company will likely blame your new pain on that. You’ll need evidence to prove otherwise.
· You plan to file for Social Security disability benefits – Those benefits, known as SSDI, may be reduced by workers comp benefits. A lawyer can structure your settlement to minimize or eliminate the offset.
· Your employer retaliates against you – If you are fired, demoted, have your hours cut or are pressured to return to work too soon, a lawyer can argue the penalties are unwarranted.
· If you have a third-party claim – You can go outside the workers comp system and file a worker’s comp lawsuit if someone other than your employer contributed to your injury. For instance, if a negligent driver hits you while you are driving for work, you can sue that person for damages.
Get a seasoned work comp lawyer in El Paso, TX at the first sign of trouble. You’ve already been injured on the job. You don’t need what follows to turn into a pain in the neck. A reputable law firm like Davie & Valdez, P.C can help you get the compensation you deserve.