Workers’ compensation is designed to help workers who have been injured on the job pay their bills. Benefits can include medical expense coverage, temporary disability, permanent disability, and more.
When it works as intended, workers’ comp is a significant protection for injured workers across the country. As a result, nearly all employers in West Virginia are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
In theory, the process for receiving workers’ comp benefits should be simple. You report the injury to your employer, you file for workers’ compensation benefits, your case is reviewed, your claim is approved, and you begin receiving benefits.
However, several things can go wrong during this process. Your claim may be wrongfully denied, the insurance company might attempt to underpay you, or you may not be able to recover the amount of compensation you need from workers’ compensation alone.
In each of these situations, it is generally in your best interest to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer for assistance. Keep reading to learn how an experienced attorney can help:
You Are Seriously Injured on the Job
If your workplace accident caused serious injuries, it is important to begin working with a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. This is especially important if your injuries are expected to have a long-term effect on your health and your ability to work.
Serious work injuries usually involve more money. Insurance companies try to pay as little compensation as possible, meaning high-value claims get the most scrutiny. As a result, it may be more difficult to recover the benefits you deserve.
Also, if you are facing a temporary or permanent disability, your legal situation will become more complicated. In these situations, having a qualified, experienced attorney who can guide you through the process to help make the best decisions for you and your family is critical.
Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Has Been Denied
A denied workers’ comp claim is another time when it is important to have a lawyer by your side. Understanding the reason for the denial and how to best appeal the decision can be a complicated process.
Your claim may be denied because of a lack of medical documentation, because your paperwork wasn’t fully or properly completed, or because your employer is disputing the claim.
When benefits that can pay for medical care and help protect your family’s financial future are on the line, it is important to seek legal guidance. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can review the decision and advise you of your options for filing a protest. You only have 60 days to protest the denial of your claim, so it is crucial to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Underpaid
Even if your claim is not denied, you may still face obstacles receiving the amount of compensation you deserve. Insurance companies may attempt to underpay a worker without good reason.
Unfortunately, too many workers don’t fight back when this happens, assuming the insurance company has a reason for limiting their benefits payments. However, if your benefits are being underpaid, it is in your best interest to get legal representation to even the playing field and keep the insurance company accountable.
You May Have a Third-Party Claim
Generally, workers’ compensation benefits only cover a portion of your losses. In the event of a serious accident on the job, you may still be facing a number of expenses and other damages.
While you are generally not allowed to sue your employer or a coworker, you may be able to sue a negligent third party to recover additional damages.
For example, if you drive for a living and the driver of another vehicle caused an auto accident that led to your injuries, you may be able to pursue additional compensation from that driver to pay for damages beyond what workers’ compensation will pay.
Or, if you work in a factory and a piece of machinery malfunctions, causing your injuries, you may be able to recover compensation from the manufacturer of the defective machine.
The laws around third-party claims can be complicated and difficult to understand. It is important to speak to a lawyer experienced in both workers’ compensation and personal injury law to explore all of your options for recovery.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
Getting the benefits you deserve through workers’ compensation can be complicated. If you are facing denial or underpayment of your claim, or you believe the negligence of another party caused your injuries, Colombo Law can help.
For more than 20 years, our team has been serving people who suffer work-related injuries. We are committed to helping those who have been injured on the job overcome the bureaucratic and legal complexities of the workers’ compensation process in West Virginia.
Please call (304) 599-4229 today for a free case review. Our workers’ compensation lawyers serve clients in Morgantown and throughout West Virginia.