Many of our workers’ compensation clients wondered whether they needed a lawyer to represent them in their case. Their prevailing thought is, “I probably don’t need a lawyer. It’s just a workers’ compensation case. My employer will look out for me.” Like them, you might have these same thoughts. Your employer, its attorney, and its insurance carrier certainly hope that you do. Your employer is not going to take care of you; they are going to take care of themselves, even if it means casting you aside. If you do not get an attorney to represent you, you run the risk of losing out on the benefits that you deserve, and you might even lose your job in the process. Now, more than ever, you need legal representation to assist you. If you go it alone, without a lawyer, you are in danger of missing out. You are jeopardizing your present and your future.
Many workers’ compensation cases are “accepted.” This means that the employer is not challenging that you suffered a workplace injury, nor will your employer challenge the nature and extent of your injury. You will be permitted to get necessary medical care and treatment, and your employer will compensate you for missed wages while you are out of work. The goal for both you and your employer will be your safe return to work.
Unfortunately, not every compensation case is “accepted” by the employer. In many cases, the employer “contests” whether the employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for their injuries. The employer may question whether the employee was working when the injury occurred, whether the injury was the result of a prior injury, or whether the employee brought their claim within one year of the injury date. Regardless of their reason, the employer must file a Form 43 to contest your claim within twenty-eight (28) days of their receipt of the official notice of your claim. In our experience, employers are fighting workers’ compensation claims more often than in the past. When employers contest workers’ compensation claims, they do so with the help of attorneys, doctors, and insurance carriers.
Don’t Let This Be You
Consider this example of a contested case: Jenny works in a warehouse in Shelton. Jenny injures her lower back moving some heavy file boxes while at work. She doesn’t report her injury, and she takes a couple of days off to recover, using a few of her vacation days. Jenny doesn’t bother seeing a doctor. Jenny never files for workers’ compensation. She never speaks with an attorney. She never really feels back to “normal,” but she tolerates the pain and continues to work.
Two years later, Jenny’s lower back is really bothering her. This time things are worse. She is out of work. She is always in pain, and she can barely stand up straight. She thinks that her pain increased after she helped a co-worker move a table for cleaning. This time, she files a Form 30C and starts a workers’ compensation claim. The company doctor relates the cause of her present condition entirely to her prior injury. Unfortunately, Jenny has ruptured one of her discs and now needs surgery. The employer, acting through its attorney and its workers’ compensation insurance carrier, contests her claim by filing a Form 43. They don’t want to pay for Jenny’s surgery. Jenny is denied wage replacement benefits. She is denied payment of her medical treatment bills. Jenny’s employer moves to dismiss her workers’ compensation claim as being untimely (more than a year after the date of initial injury). Once Jenny uses up her saved vacation and personal time, the company fires her. Jenny loses the workers’ compensation case. Jenny is out of a job, and she faces tremendous medical debts.
Jenny’s entire situation could have been avoided. A workers’ compensation attorney would have argued that Jenny’s second workplace injury was a new injury. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney would have selected a different attending physician to evaluate and treat Jenny besides the company doctor. Jenny would have received an orthopedic or neurological evaluation as warranted by her symptoms and condition. An attorney would have obtained wage replacement benefits, and they would have contested Jenny’s employer’s legal maneuvers. Jenny’s attorney would have asserted a claim of wrongful retaliatory discharge when the employer fired Jenny.
Perhaps most importantly, Jenny’s lawyer would have advised her on her legal options every step of the way, and they would have spent time counseling Jenny on her decisions. Jenny would not have fought this battle alone. These are the protections we offer to our injured Shelton clients at Ruane Attorneys. This is why clients like Jenny need lawyers to represent them in workers’ compensation matters. There is too much at stake to go it alone.
The Help You Need
At Ruane Attorneys, we vigorously represent our workers’ compensation clients. Our goal is to obtain every possible compensation benefit for you while you are recovering from your workplace injury. We pride ourselves on our innovative solutions to our clients’ problems.
If you are an injured worker in Shelton, contact our office for legal representation. There is no charge for our services unless and until we recover specific compensation benefits on your behalf. You do not have to go it alone.