WHEN SHOULD YOU CONTACT A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEY AFTER AN INJURY AT WORK?
Once you’re hurt at work, you should call a lawyer who focuses workers’ compensation claims right away.
First get any emergency medical care you need because of your injury on the job. But as soon as you can, talk to a workers’ compensation attorney.
Even after you start receiving medical care for your workplace injury—even if your weekly wage loss checks have started coming in—call a workers’ compensation lawyer.
This is for two reasons:
- To make sure your ongoing medical care serves your best interests.
- To give you negotiating power with the workers’ comp insurance company.
How a Workers’ Comp Attorney Helps You with Medical Care
For the first 28 days following a work-related injury, the insurance company can dictate where you go for medical treatment. After 28 days, you’re allowed to see a doctor of your own choosing.
It may not seem like a problem to go to a clinic recommended by your employer or their insurance carrier.
But there’s a lot they don’t tell you.
Workers’ comp insurance companies have lists of doctors they try to “steer” you toward for treatment.
The insurance companies feel these doctors are either suspicious of on-the-job injuries by nature, or they will issue opinions favoring employers and insurance companies because the insurance company provides them a lot of work.
Some of these doctors have private practices, but visit industrial clinics like Concentra to treat injured workers. They may decide your injury isn’t as disruptive as you know it to be, so the insurance company can reduce your workers’ compensation benefits.
So once that 28 days passes, pick your own doctor. Because you might face resistance, a workers’ comp attorney can step in and protect your right to receive the medical care of your choice.
When you have your own doctor, you know you have someone looking out for your needs, not the interests of your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance provider.
The health care you receive from your doctor will generate the medical evidence you need to argue for the maximum benefits available. An experienced workers’ comp lawyer knows what to look for.
You also may need to make some complicated decisions that affect your medical treatment and workers’ comp benefits, especially when it comes to having surgery.
As an injured worker, you cannot be forced to have a surgical procedure, even if your treating doctor recommends it.
You must decide if you think the surgical procedure will benefit you. And you assume the risks involved.
Surgery is deemed to be an “invasive” procedure under workers’ comp law, and any procedure of this nature can only be done if you agree to it. Obviously the riskier the procedure, the more you should weigh the likely outcomes before deciding to move forward.
A work injury lawyer can help you navigate these decisions so you get the best results for yourself, without unnecessarily jeopardizing your injured worker benefits.
How a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Protects Your Rights as an Injured Worker
In addition to protecting your rights in the health care system, a workers’ comp lawyer can do all of this for you during your workers’ comp claim:
- Fight back if the insurance company argues your injury didn’t happen at, or because of, work.
- Counter their argument that you weren’t really an employee, but an independent contractor.
- File your appeal of a denial of benefits.
- Make sure your lost wages checks arrive in a timely way.
- Make sure you get all the benefits they might not tell you about—such as reimbursement for travel to medical appointments.
- Make sure your prescriptions are covered.
- Push back when they try to end your benefits too soon.
- Guard you against vocational rehabilitation counselors arguing you can return to work before you’re ready.
But you need to get a workers’ comp attorney on your claim fast, because the longer you wait, the harder it can be to secure all of the benefits you should receive.
These benefits can make a big difference in your life when an injury or job-related illness has thrown everything into disarray. They let you hold on to the life you’ve built by working hard, so don’t take chances with your claim.
Levine Benjamin Law Firm is a disability, injury and workers’ compensation law firm based in Detroit and helping people injured on the job all over Michigan. Our workers’ compensation attorneys have helped thousands of people.
If you were hurt on the job in Michigan and need help getting the maximum workers’ comp benefits contact the workers’ comp lawyers at Levine Benjamin today.