What You Should Know Before Speaking With A Workers Compensation Attorney
When you suffer a workplace injury, you will probably want to consult with a worker’s attorney in the pursuit of some sort of compensation. Especially if your injury means that you can no longer work and support yourself as you’re accustomed to. However lawsuits are, at the best of times, complicated and expensive processes, and while many go into them expecting large payouts such rewards are very rare. There’s not even a guarantee that you’re entitled to worker’s compensation for your injury.
Forewarned is, as they say, forearmed, so it helps to know exactly what you need to do before you approach your attorney to seek compensation. Knowing these sorts of details can help you strengthen your case in court, as well as ensure that your case will even stand up in the first place.
Know This: Do Not Delay
It’s sometimes tempting to just wait until the worst of the accident is over and to approach an attorney when you’ve become more settled. Others may simply want to assess just how bad an injury is before going further with a lawsuit. This can actually place you at a serious disadvantage, as by postponing your lawsuit you allow more time for crucial evidence to slip through your fingers.
Further, some workers’ compensation claims have very strict time limits on when accidents should be reported. While some may allow a grace period as long as a month, others may refuse claims if they were not reported immediately to a supervisor.
How Much can I Win?
Perhaps the most pressing concern you’ll have. Before you go anyway, it does help to know exactly how much money your injury is worth in a court of law. After all, if your injury is only worth, say $100 or so in fees, then it may not be worth the expense of the suit. It also allows you to decide whether it’s worth hiring a lawyer.
How Much Will My Attorney Cost?
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and there’s no such thing as a free attorney. When approaching one seeking workers’ compensation, rest assured they’re going to want some payment for their expertise. Sometimes this may be a flat fee paid immediately or in several chunks over the course of the case, others may prefer a percentage of anything rewarded at the end of the case. Some opt for both.
Even if a lawyer does charge more than you can afford, don’t be dissuaded from approaching one. Many law firms offer free consultation on a case upon the first visit, which should, at least, give you something to work with in constructing your own case. As a rule, though, it’s always better to have professional help when taking your employers to court. If only because they almost certainly will be employing attorneys themselves.
Local Laws, Ordinances, and Other Legal Conditions
The law is a complicated matter. That’s one of the reasons we recommend hiring a lawyer – they know exactly what to look for in promoting your claim. However, it pays to do your own research before you approach one. All employers are legally required to make sure you’re aware of your rights and entitlements as an employee, including any legal rights you’re afforded by municipal, state and federal laws. Make sure you’re familiar with the more relevant ones. If you’re still not certain, local labor laws are readily available either online or at a local library.
Studying these laws will make sure you know what law your injury may fall under, giving you an idea of how it should be prosecuted and how much you can expect to gain from it. It also alerts you to any conditions that may invalidate your claims, or conditions that are necessary for it to be pursued, such as witnesses, expiration times, or evidence required.
Any good worker’s compensation attorney, such as Charles Leo in Orlando, can educate you as to what laws are relevant to your claim, but sometimes it’s a good idea just to find this out yourself. It saves time, and can also save you money in hiring a lawyer if it turns out your claim isn’t actually valid in court.
Make sure you have lots of evidence to support your claim. Like a magpie, collect anything you can lay your hands on. Photos of the injury, photos of the room when the injury happened, witness accounts, medical reports, statements from employers and co-workers, medical bills, etc, etc. All these will strengthen your claim, determine how much compensation you’re owed, and allow the judges to verify where the fault lies.