No matter if the injury is severe or not, getting involved in an accident at work is a serious matter. Most Indiana employers require you to notify your supervisor right away after being hurt, and for insurance reasons, you should also take the first opportunity to see a doctor in order to better understand your injuries and provide evidence for your claim.
This is the beginning of a workers’ compensation claim. Depending on the type of the injury and circumstances surrounding it, it may also be the beginning of an extended absence from work and a fight for appropriate compensation for your medical bills.
In many workers’ compensation claims, people may choose to hire or consult an attorney to help them settle their claim for the greatest amount possible. But when the accident is minor and the case straightforward, do you even need to contact an attorney? In some cases, no. But there may be more to your case than first meets the eye.
Workers’ Compensation Self-Representation Examples
Every case is different, but there are a few scenarios in which people can generally represent themselves for their workers’ compensation claim. A few steps to always consider taking, however, are seeing a doctor right away and waiting until your health returns to normal after the accident before accepting a settlement. This ensures you have accounted for all possible medical bills before accepting payment. You may receive workers’ compensation payments as you receive treatment, but if you are fighting for compensation for a permanent injury, for example, or if your workers’ compensation claim has been denied outright, you’ll want to wait until all of your injuries are taken care of before accepting a settlement.
In the following situations, you may not need to consult a lawyer in order to settle your claim:
- The injury was minor; the treatment plan is simple and involves, for example, only a cast or brace.
- Your employer readily admits the accident occurred at work.
- You weren’t required to take time off work to recover from the injury.
- The injury occurred as a one-time event and didn’t aggravate a previously existing condition, such as an old injury (whether or not the old injury happened at work).
If this is your first workers’ compensation claim, you still may find it helpful to consult a knowledgeable attorney. A workers’ compensation lawyer can walk you through the process, explain confusing concepts, and help you determine if you can handle the claim on your own.
Complicated Claim Examples
In complicated circumstances, or when certain parties don’t cooperate openly through the workers’ compensation claim process, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to represent your interests and leverage Indiana law to help you get a fair settlement.
Cases with the following characteristics may benefit from the experience of a local workers’ compensation lawyer:
- Your employer or the insurance company only offers a partial settlement or refuses to pay altogether.
- Your employer punishes you for filing a workers’ compensation claim by firing you or taking other unlawful action.
- Your injury will limit the kind of work you are able to perform or qualify you for Social Security disability benefits.
- Your workers’ compensation doctor has released you from treatment, but your injuries have not resolved.
These situations usually benefit from an attorney’s guidance because an experienced workers’ compensation attorney may have dealt with similar circumstances before and know how best to approach the case.
Guidance from an Indiana Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Whether simple or confusing, workers’ compensation claims often involve crucial decisions that will affect the amount of your settlement and even the status of your job. Our workers’ compensation attorneys have helped dozens of Indiana workers file their claims, communicate their needs, and prove the true cost of their injuries through a workers’ compensation claim. If you’re ready to take the next step, give us a call or contact us online today. Your conversation with us is totally free.