When to Hire a Workers Compensation Lawyer

A lawyer filing out a document next to a gavel and scales

The notion of compensating others for an injury has been around since the justice systems of ancient civilizations. “An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth” illustrates the notion that those responsible for another’s injury have a reciprocal and proportionate responsibility for compensating the injured party for their loss.

The idea behind workers’ compensation comes from the same principle. When an employee sustains an injury arising out of the course and scope of their employment, the employer is liable to compensate the employee for the workplace injury. Compensation for minor injuries is usually pretty straightforward. However, there are some situations that only a trained and experienced attorney can handle. This blog discusses when it is appropriate to hire a workers’ comp lawyer.

Workers Compensation Benefits

Employees may receive workers’ compensation benefits for losses related to workplace injuries. The scope of these benefits go beyond reimbursement for medical treatment

Some of the benefits of workers’ compensation include:

  • Medical Treatment Expenses. Workers’ comp benefits cover necessary medical treatment for workplace injuries.
  • Temporary Disability Benefits. This benefit covers losses an employee incurs during the period in which they are temporarily disabled due to a workplace injury.
  • Permanent Disability Benefits. Employees who suffer permanently disabling injuries are entitled to a benefit that covers their diminished earning capacity and other losses.
  • Death Benefits. When an employee dies as a result of a workplace injury, workers’ compensation death benefits are available to the employee’s dependents for losses including burial expenses.

When You Can Represent Yourself

Hiring a workers’ comp attorney can be expensive. While most California personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, a contingency fee can range anywhere between 30-40% of the total recovery. Thus, it is not economically reasonable for you to hire an attorney for factually simple claims that involve minor injuries or no missed work.

When You Should Hire an Attorney

A workers’ compensation attorney can best serve you in claims that involve an unusually large sum of money, or possible wrongful conduct on the part of your employer or the insurance company.

You may want to consider hiring a workers’ comp attorney in the following situations:

  • Delayed Workers’ Compensation Claims. If your claim for workers’ compensation benefits was denied or has been delayed, you should consult an attorney to determine why. If you are entitled to receive workers’ comp benefits and your employer or their insurer failed to prove benefits promptly, they are liable for paying 110% of the benefits they owe you under California law. According to the California labor code, in cases that involve an unreasonable delay or failure to provide benefits, the employer or their insurer is liable to pay up to $10,000 as a penalty for the unreasonable delay.
  • Severe Disabling Injuries or Death. When a workers’ comp claim involves high stakes, an employer or their insurance company will do what they can to minimize their liability for paying such a substantial benefit. Large, costly claims typically involve permanently disabling injuries or death.
  • Discrimination for Filing a Claim. California labor laws prohibit employers from unlawfully discriminating against employees who sustain a workplace injury. Employers who violate this prohibition face both criminal and civil penalties for their conduct. Additionally, insurance companies who pressure employers to terminate an employee because of a claim by threatening to cancel coverage or hike up premium rates are liable for criminal and civil penalties.
  • Employer Misconduct. Under California law, injuries that arise due to the serious and willful misconduct of the employer. Examples of serious and willful misconduct on the part of the employer include violating a safety order or generally failing to provide a safe place to work. Although any business can be found liable for workplace injuries due to misconduct, construction work accidents, manufacturing accidents, or occupations involving a regular activity that is likely to lead to repetitive motion work injuries.

Need Legal Advice on Your Claim?

At the Law Office of Ronald Ehrman, we have experience more than 20 years of experience handling different types of injury cases, including workers’ compensation claims. Lead by Attorney Ronald P. Ehrman, our legal team will provide you with confident and compassionate legal representation for your workers’ comp claim to help preserve your right to be compensated for losses resulting from a workplace injury.

To discuss your legal options with our Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney, contact the Law Office of Ronald Ehrman online or call us at (213) 455-5808 for a free initial consultation today.