The purpose of workers’ compensation laws in Oregon and most other states is to enable someone with a work-related illness or injury to obtain the medical care and treatment they need to recover and return to work. In return for employees getting prompt access to medical care and replacement of wages lost while out of work, workers’ compensation laws protect employers by restricting the ability of their employees to sue for accidents and illnesses caused by their jobs.
Procedures in place to file and process claims for benefits rely on the insurance companies that issue workers’ compensation policies to employers to evaluate and pay workers’ claims. It is common for disputes to arise when benefit claims are rejected or when a worker cannot return and considers a disability settlement offered by the insurer to be inadequate.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney could make a difference in how your claim is handled and its outcome. Here are four of the benefits of hiring a workers’ comp lawyer to handle your claim.
Workers’ comp lawyers know the law and procedures
Workers’ compensation insurance companies have teams of lawyers at their disposal to maneuver through complicated and confusing laws and procedures. When you hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to handle your claim, you take away the insurer’s advantage with a trusted advocate who is dedicated and committed to getting you the benefits the law says that you deserve and are entitled to receive.
An attorney with years of experience knows the law and how to file a claim that satisfies legal requirements. Complying with the law avoids technical mistakes that can delay or defeat an otherwise valid claim for benefits.
Your lawyer’s in-depth understanding of the claims process ensures that your initial claim documents the cause and extent of your injury or illness. This not only improves the chance of a successful result, but it also strengthens an appeal in the event of an adverse determination by the insurer.
You can get skillful representation during the appeal process
You would think that workers’ compensation benefits would be easy to apply for and receive, but they are not. If your initial claim for benefits is denied, you have the right to file an appeal.
Appeals must be filed within 60 days of the mailing date of the notice of a denial of your claim for benefits. A Bend workers’ compensation attorney can ensure that your appeal is filed in time.
The attorney will review the case, including the denial letter, and gather the evidence needed to support your position in the appeal. Evidence may include updated medical records and other evidence that proves that the position taken by the insurance company was wrong.
A denial of the initial claim is not the only action taken by the insurance company that you can challenge through the appeal process. If your initial claim for benefits is approved, the insurer may subsequently close your case. You have the right to challenge the closure decision.
Oregon workers’ compensation attorneys are affordable
You have the right to legal representation challenging actions taken by the workers’ compensation insurer handling your claim for benefits. The legal fees that your attorney charges are regulated by state workers’ compensation law.
Workers’ compensation attorneys in Oregon work under a contingent fee arrangement, which simply means they only get paid if and when they win a dispute about your claim for benefits. The lawyer’s fee is a percentage of the claim and must be approved by the Workers’ Compensation Board. Certain types of disputes, such as a denial of your initial claim for benefits, may result in an order making the insurer responsible for payment of the legal fees of your lawyer.
An attorney can help with third-party claims related to your injuries
You may have rights beyond workers’ compensation when an injury at work is caused by the negligence of third parties. For example, if you are hit by a delivery truck owned by another company, you may have a claim against the owner and driver to recover damages.
A Bend workers’ compensation attorney can review the circumstances of the accident and determine whether claims exist against other parties whose negligence caused you to be injured. If there are, your attorney will pursue those third-party claims to recover compensation for the damage, including pain and suffering, that you incurred.
Learn more about how a workers’ comp lawyer can help you
If you have been injured at work or have an illness related to your job, you have rights. A Bend workers’ compensation attorney is your best source for advice and guidance about your rights and how to pursue them.