What Does A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Do?

What Does A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Do?

Workplace accidents and injuries that cause lasting impairments can severely affect a person’s physical and financial health. Workers’ compensation benefits can be a cushion to alleviate some of the stress. Mississippi state legislation entitles most workers’ benefits to cover healthcare expenses related to the accident, provide supplemental income, and more. While most workers are eligible to file a claim, the process can be complex. Depending on the specifics of the incident, there may be obstacles to overcome, including requesting additional information, responses to denials, necessary appeals, and settlement negotiations. Consider contacting an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at Lott Law by calling (228) 215-2787 to request more information or to get help with your claim. 

What Does a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Do That I Cannot?

Insurance companies know how to trip up injured workers.  Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyers can provide sound legal advice throughout the claim process. They may be able to help expedite some steps and assist in determining why there are delays or problems, as well as helping clients to strategize the most effective way to resolve either. When issues arise that require attending hearings or filing an appeal, these lawyers can help to ensure that the employee, their client, is prepared to present a solid case to overcome objections and collect the benefits he or she is entitled to receive after suffering a workplace injury. Experienced legal representation can assist with paperwork, clarify confusions about the process, and facilitate communication with insurance companies and medical providers. 

The Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Act provides injured workers insurance to cover medical bills and other expenses, with a few exceptions, after suffering work-related injuries, following a no-fault system. No-fault means that the legislation entitles employees to collect regardless of who caused the accident. The exceptions to coverage include workplace injuries caused by intoxication from alcohol or impairment from drug use, intentional injuries, or accidents caused by negligent or illegal activities. 

Your Rights to a Safe Workplace

Workers in the United States have the right to expect and receive a hazard-free, safe working environment. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), mandates the minimum safety standards that all organizations must provide for their employees. Those who willfully violate the regulations could be assessed a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $70,000 for each transgression. Penalties increase in severity for each violation. Workers also have certain legal rights to take legal action against their employers for unsafe workplaces. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

According to the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission, submitting a claim for benefits does not require the applicant to hire legal representation. However, disputes may arise, and an attorney who is experienced with these claims may be able to help resolve the disputes and avoid unnecessary delays or claim denials. While workers can apply independently, having a lawyer’s assistance can make the process less confusing and, in some cases, may result in the injured worker receiving the benefits to which they are entitled more quickly.

When To Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer

Many injured workers choose to initiate the claims process independently, generally with no issues. However, when a problem arises, it helps to know when to reach out for help. A workers’ compensation lawyer from Lott Law may be able to help with any of the following circumstances: 

  • After receiving a denial of benefits from the employer or the insurance agency handling the claim 
  • During the appeals process, after receiving a denial 
  • During a long wait to receive approval and start collecting benefits
  • When the employer disputes the injury or illness resulting from work  
  • When a low settlement offer would fail to cover the cost of lost salary and medical care 
  • When the accident and injuries result from third-party negligence
  • When considering or beginning the settlement process 

Another situation in which it may be beneficial to seek help from a workers’ compensation lawyer is when employers retaliate against workers for applying for benefits after suffering workplace injuries. Federal and state laws prohibit businesses from retaliation, and knowledgeable counsel may be in a position to remind an employer of their legal responsibilities and protect the employee’s rights.  

Negotiating Settlement Agreements

Injured workers may be eligible to settle their claims in certain circumstances, such as when their injuries cause permanent partial impairment. Lump-sum payments rather than regular payments and ongoing contact with the insurers may sound enticing. Even so, the worker should ensure that the settlement amount is fair and covers future medical costs related to the workplace injury. A qualified lawyer will work to protect the employee’s interests and handle the communications to negotiate on the individual’s behalf. The typical steps involved in most settlements include the following: 

  • Sending the insurer a demand letter with the desired settlement amount and supporting documentation
  • Reviewing counter offers to determine whether they are fair and acceptable 
  • Sending additional correspondence, such as counteroffers or acceptance letters, to assist with settlement negotiations
  • Agreeing on the final settlement amount and submitting documentation to the commission for final approval 
  • Completing the documentation and signing the agreement to accept the final offer, collect the settlement check, and close the claim

There are many vital factors to consider. Accepting a settlement amount without seeking legal advice first may, in some cases, result in taking an amount that is less than fair compensation for the type and severity of the injuries.

How Much Are Workers’ Compensation Claims Worth?

The most commonly claimed workplace injuries involve bruises, sprains, or fractures. However, injuries involving the head and central nervous system generally have the highest monetary value for claims. When proving a case for an injured worker to collect benefits, a medical professional will track improvement and assess whether the injury will cause permanent impairment. The healthcare professional will issue an impairment rating once they determine that the injury has reached maximum medical improvement. 

Maximum medical improvement is a term used to indicate that ongoing treatments are unlikely to improve the worker’s health, and a physician’s determination of maximum medical improvement (MMI) is often used to assist in estimating the extent to which the disability will continue to affect the worker in the future. MMI can significantly affect the maximum benefit amount the worker may be eligible to collect. Depending on several factors, workers’ compensation claims in Mississippi can be up to two thirds of the employee’s weekly pay for a maximum of 450 weeks. 

Call a Seasoned Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today 

Workers’ compensation benefits are essential for protecting employees after they suffer work-related injuries. While state laws entitle most workers to apply for benefits after suffering workplace injuries, the process of applying for workers’ compensation benefits can be challenging. Many find themselves in stressful situations trying to resolve issues while the benefits they need urgently are on hold. An attorney can be invaluable for helping to avoid delays, navigating issues and appeals, or negotiating settlements. Consider contacting a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer at Lott Law by calling (228) 215-2787 and scheduling a consultation to discuss your situation and review your options.