If you’ve been injured at work and have already filed a claim with your employer, you may be asking yourself “do I need a workers compensation attorney?” In short, most people will benefit from retaining a work comp lawyer. Here’s why:
- California workers compensation law is extremely complex
- You can’t count on the insurance company to look out for you
- It’s easier to let someone else handle the paperwork
- Attorney’s fees are paid on contingency, i.e. no cash, no fee
Keep reading to learn more about each of these reasons why you should consider retaining a California workers comp lawyer.
Workers Comp is Super Complicated
The California workers compensation system is over a hundred years old. As you can imagine, laws and regulations do not tend to get simpler over time. Work Comp is no exception. The purported goal of the workers compensation system is to efficiently deliver benefits to workers injured on the job. However, the recent statutes and regulations enacted were written with another goal in mind: to prevent the occurrence of fraudulent and bad-faith activity within the system.
What this means for injured workers is that it’s extremely difficult to get anything done if the insurance company doesn’t agree. I’ll skip the boring details. But even the doctor they send you to will be told “No”; and won’t be able to do anything about it.
Most of these disputes, which frequently are about medical treatment, take a workers comp attorney to resolve in your favor.
The Insurance Company Is Not Your Friend
Some people equate all insurance companies with the devil. That’s not true. There are plenty of employers and insurance companies in California that honestly try to do right by injured workers. However, their job performance is judged by minimizing payouts. That means that even the most well intentioned claim examiner has it in their DNA to reduce and/or deny benefits. And that’s the best-case scenario. Some insurance companies will simply deny benefits because they can.
You wouldn’t challenge Gordon Ramsey to a cook off or Michael Phelps to a swimming race. So don’t go up against a workers compensation professional either.
Paperwork is the Worst
Workers compensation law is basically 100% paperwork. All day long, workers comp attorneys on each side send each other letter, forms, requests, etc. If you don’t hire an attorney, you’ll have to handle all this yourself. Heaven forbid you miss a deadline. If things don’t go properly you may have to request a QME or request an IMR on your own. Dealing with those sorts of things can be very stressful.
You Only Pay for Results
In California Workers Compensation, the attorneys are paid on contingency. That means there’s no fee if there’s no recovery. The standard rate is 15%, which must be approved by the judge. So, for example, if you have a $30,000 settlement, your workers comp lawyer would get paid $4,500 directly by the insurance company (and you’d get the remaining $25,500).