Workers compensation laws, which vary from state to state, protect people in case they get hurt or disabled on the job. Some laws help those who are injured receive monetary awards to go toward medical bills and other related costs. Sometimes, litigation is not necessary if both the worker and employer reach an out-of-court settlement, but at other times, a worker compensation lawyer may be necessary. This may be the case if the plaintiff cannot reach an agreement with the employer during a workers compensation claim. Or, another case may be when an injured worker has to dispute lost wages due to his or her inability to work.
A worker compensation lawyer works for the best interest of either the claimant or the defendant, and according to state and federal workers compensation laws. On the claimant side, the lawyer ensures that his or her client receives benefits to help pay for medical and rehabilitation costs, and recoup lost wages because of missed days at work. A workers? compensation claim also helps to pay for temporary or permanent disability benefits. According to research, in 2013 more than 900,000 occupational injuries and illnesses resulted in missed days of work.
The average number of days missed by men and women in the United States totaled eight. Overall, following a three- to seven-day waiting period, injured employees receive cash benefits for missed days at work as well as up to 100 percent of medical costs. In addition, according to reports, workers? compensation benefits totaled $60.2 billion in 2011 compared to $58.2 billion in 2010.
Meanwhile, a worker compensation lawyer who represents the defendant works in the company?s best interests. Besides helping the company defend itself against a claim, the lawyer also helps to mitigate any of the company?s bad publicity and monetary losses. The defense side also assists with workplace accident investigations and help to reduce liability regarding workers? compensation costs. Ultimately, the worker compensation defense lawyer works with the insurance company and claimant in hopes of reaching a settlement.
Generally, the worker compensation lawyer, whether representing the claimant or the defendant, must conduct legal research related to the case and collect medical records and other related evidence. He or she also has to take depositions or statements from the plaintiff or defendant, and other parties such as physicians and medical experts. Some other general duties include writing legal briefs, conducting the discovery process, or the gathering of evidence between parties; and litigating the case in court.
Reasons for contacting a worker compensation lawyer may vary. Slipping and falling on the premises can warrant a claim, especially if it resulted in a sprain or a broken bone. On a construction site, breaking a leg after falling from a ladder would warrant a claim. Another example would be an employee who experiences carpal tunnel syndrome or another repetitive motion injury that would make it difficult to do his or her job. Bad knees or a bad back from heavy lifting on the job also qualifies for worker compensation.