Nearly three million workers are injured every year while performing their jobs, including many thousands in Georgia. If you are an Atlanta worker who has been injured in a workplace accident, you may be wondering how you will cope with the physical, emotional, and financial impacts of your injury. Georgia law requires most employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance so that injured workers can receive recompense for their losses. Getting the help of a workers’ compensation attorney as you file your claim can make the process much smoother and improve your chances of receiving the maximum amount of compensation. But do you really need a lawyer? Here is what Atlanta workers should know.
When Representing Yourself Is OkayAlthough an attorney can provide assistance regardless of the specifics of your case, there are circumstances where you would get along fine without one. If your work accident left you with relatively minor injuries, you only stopped working for a short period of time, the injury did not involve a pre-existing condition, and your employer admitted the injury occurred while you were working, you may be able to represent yourself in a workers’ compensation claim.
Cases When You Should Work With an AttorneyMany times, however, workplace injuries go beyond simple minor injuries or there are complications with the filing process. If this is true of your injury, it is best to speak with an attorney. Here are some common reasons that having an attorney on your side is advisable.
- You sustained serious injuries. Although the definition of serious injury can be vague, generally speaking, it is an injury that requires medical attention beyond simple first-aid. Examples include fractures, concussions, crush injuries, deep cuts, burns, and internal injuries.
- Your claim was denied. Claims can be denied for a number of reasons. An attorney can help establish why and help strengthen your case for the appeals process.
- If there are issues with the treating physician. Employers are required to have a list of physicians the injured worker can seek treatment with.
- The benefits do not cover your injury-related expenses or benefits are delayed.
- A potential third-party claim is necessary. If for instance, you were injured because of a defective product or due to the negligence of someone aside from your employer.
- The injury involves a pre-existing condition. Benefits may be adjusted when pre-existing conditions are involved or it may be used as a reason to deny your claim.
- Your employer retaliates as a result of your claim. It is illegal to fire or punish a worker for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim.
- The injury prevents you from returning to your employment.