Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
If you were injured in the workplace, whether while you were at work or an incident related to your job, you are likely eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are available for a single incident, like an accident using equipment or a slip and fall case, as well as repetitive stress injuries and exposure to chemicals or a condition that later leads to disease.
With few exceptions, employers in Oklahoma are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This coverage supplies an employee with benefits that cover all medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages due to a workplace injury. In turn, companies benefit because it prohibits an employee from filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Given the absence of a personal injury claim, one might conclude that they don’t need an attorney for a workers’ compensation claim in Oklahoma. However, an attorney can be beneficial to ensure that your rights are protected. This is especially vital if you have to appeal a denied claim.
An Oklahoma workers’ compensation attorney can also be an invaluable resource when it comes to filing a claim to ensure that every procedure is followed properly. There are specific rules about notifying your employer, seeking medical attention, and filing documentation. Failure to follow the correct procedures could compromise your claim, so an attorney can offer an extra layer of protection to help your claim be successful.
Benefits of Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
In an ideal world, workers’ compensation claims would be painless with no issues or disputes. It’s difficult enough to sustain an injury and be unable to work. Adding the stress of a workers’ compensation claim can be a frustrating burden.
The percentage of claims that get denied is on the rise. Across all industries, the denial rate is 7%, and it can top 30% in some sectors. Having legal assistance can help prevent a claim from being denied. And, if the claim does get denied, a workers’ comp attorney can fight on your behalf.
Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney can benefit you in three key areas:
- Gather evidence: Your employer may not be diligent in collecting and presenting the necessary evidence to support your claim. We leave no stone unturned when it comes to this task.
- Handle documentation: There’s a surprising amount of paperwork that can accompany a workers’ compensation claim. There are also strict filing deadlines and procedures that must be followed. An Oklahoma workers’ compensation attorney will be knowledgeable about these guidelines, increasing the chances that your claim goes smoothly.
- Negotiate with insurance companies: Experienced workers’ compensation attorneys are ready to fight aggressively for the rights of Oklahoma workers. If the insurance company denies your claim or your employer attempts to dispute your claim, an attorney can step in and handle the negotiations.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
When you’re unable to work, the last thing you want to think about is adding the expense of hiring an attorney to an ever-growing pile of bills. The good news is that most workers’ compensation attorneys, including us, work on a contingency-fee-basis.
This term means that you don’t pay anything out-of-pocket. Instead, the attorney receives a portion of your settlement claim if you win your case. This arrangement is mutually beneficial because it allows you to avoid the stress of an added expense. It can also motivate an attorney to work extra hard in securing a win.
In Oklahoma, there is also a limit to the percentage that a workers’ compensation attorney can collect from a successful settlement. For most claims, the maximum amount is 10%. In the case of a permanent disability or death, the threshold is 20%. There may be additional fees associated with preparing a case for trial, but an attorney should review those terms with you before proceeding with your case.
Why Should I Hire Bryan Garrett as My Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Not all workplace injuries require the assistance of an attorney, but we usually recommend contacting one as soon as possible to discuss your options. At the Law Offices of Bryan Garrett PLLC, we have over 15 years of experience representing Oklahoma workers in workers’ compensation claims.
We understand that a workplace injury can have permanent and life-altering effects, and we’re here to help you receive maximum compensation. In addition to having access to an attorney who has worked on thousands of injury cases, you’ll also have an entire support team of legal professionals. As a result, you’ll always be able to reach us to discuss your case, and we proactively communicate with you to keep you in the loop.
What Issues Could Prevent Me from Having a Successful Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Even though workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for job-related injuries, several issues can result in a claim being denied. It’s important to be aware of them so that you can avoid falling victim to a situation that wasn’t your fault or a piece of red tape about which you knew nothing.
- You did not report the incident right away. There are rules governing how long you have to report an injury or illness to your employer. If you wait too long, the insurance company may deny the claim. There are also requirements for submitting documentation to the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission that must be adhered to.
- Your settlement offer doesn’t cover the extent of your injuries. If you have a partial or permanent disability, there could be a dispute over how much your claim is worth. The insurance company will likely err on the low side of what’s fair, and you may need to enlist the help of an attorney to negotiate on your behalf.
- The insurance company claims you have a preexisting condition. If your medical records show that you had a prior injury or condition related to your current claim, they could argue that you are trying to collect funds for an issue that is not work-related.
- You did not follow through with doctor’s appointments or treatments. Missing appointments or disregarding the advice of your doctor can adversely affect your claim.
- There is a dispute regarding the circumstances of the incident. While workers’ compensation insurance covers most workplace injuries (even if the incident was your fault), there are exceptions to this rule. If any of the following circumstances apply to your situation, the success of your claim could be compromised:
- You were intoxicated at the time of the incident
- Your injury was self-inflicted
- Your injury was the result of reckless behavior
- Your injury occurred off the clock
- You violated company policy (i.e., not wearing protective gear)