How do you know if you need a workers’ compensation attorney?
The litigation process over serious work-related injuries or illnesses generally requires legal representation. If you are injured, have contracted a work-related illness or believe you have been treated unfairly, contacting a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney is in your best interest. Even if you think you’re able to handle the situation on your own, a lawyer is there to help you 100 percent through your case and receives no payment until your case is won.
Can you represent yourself in court?
You are permitted to represent yourself in court and in front of a judge. However, this is ill-advised because the employer and its insurance company will undoubtedly be represented by an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, putting you at a severe disadvantage. Also, insurance companies may be very unhelpful at times, providing you with wrong or conflicting information. Having a knowledgeable lawyer will give you an advantage.
Can you sue your employer?
No. In exchange for receiving workers’ compensation benefits, an injured worker gives up the right to sue his or her employer for pain and suffering. There are very few exceptions to this rule, and this does not mean that you cannot sue other parties who may be responsible for your injuries. For example, if you are injured in a work-related motor vehicle accident caused by the negligence of a third party, you may be able to file a personal injury action against the third party seeking pain and suffering damages.
Why should you get a lawyer?
When you have a lawyer, you do not speak to the insurance company—your lawyer handles that. The claims adjuster will probably set up an independent medical exam, which will be with a doctor paid by the insurance company. This doctor may downplay your injury or offer an alternate explanation for how it occurred. These appointments are mandatory and failure to attend could result in the loss of benefits. A workers’ compensation lawyer will walk you through the whole process and inform you of any important developments so that all your attention can be on recuperating.
The workers’ compensation system may have been intended to provide prompt and fair compensation for injured workers, but it now appears to work mostly to the benefit of employers and insurers.
Even if your case is not before a judge, it may be wise to contact a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer to help you navigate the difficult process of dealing with your employer and its insurance company.