An often asked question is “Should I hire an attorney for my work injury claim?”. That question requires a look at the Georgia workers’ compensation process and it also may depend on what is happening in your specific work comp claim. Like other accidents, no one plans to be hurt on the job. It just happens. For that reason, Georgia law requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have more than 3 employees. Millions of lawsuits are filed every year, but less than 7,200 workers’ compensation claims were filed in Georgia in 2016. Many of these claims were from folks who have never filed a claim before and have no actual knowledge of workers’ compensation law.
On the other hand, the workers’ compensation insurance carriers are very prepared to handle injury claims from Georgia’s injured employees. The insurance adjusters are trained in GA law. They are coached on what to look for to justify the denial of benefits. Their primary purpose is to defend the insurance company from paying out any money in your work injury claim. These insurance adjusters handle hundreds, if not thousands, of work comp claims every year. They are required to have continuing training and they have pre-selected doctors and lawyers “on-call” to help them deny workers’ compensation claims.
As you can see, the playing field does not appear to be leveled. The insurance companies have the resources to purchase medical opinions and literally stack the deck against an injured worker. They send nurses to talk to your doctors; hire other doctors to contradict your care plan; send investigators to catch you on video; and try their best to make you seem untruthful or at the very least attempt to minimize your work injury.
That brings us back to the original question which was “Should I hire an attorney for my work injury claim?” Retaining a reputable GA workers’ compensation lawyer is your only chance to protect your rights and receive your benefits.
Attempting to fight the insurance company by yourself is not only unwise, but it may be dangerous as your health and livelihood are at stake.
There are a few things to consider when hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer. Ideally, you should hire a lawyer who primarily handles Georgia workers’ compensation law. It is like medicine in that you would not go to your dentist if you have a heart attack. While they are both “doctors”, you may be better suited to go to a cardiologist than the dentist.
You should hire a firm with plenty of experience trying Georgia workers’ compensation claims. At the Ramos Law Firm we have over a decade of experience in Georgia workers’ compensation claims. This area of law is very complex and ever changing. You will want a firm who has not only “been around the block” a few times and have actually tried cases before the Court but they also make it a priority to stay current on new case law and attend training seminars. Likewise, having a former insurance defense lawyer as your attorney is also a good plan. He will likely know the insurance companies’ perspective and the tactics they will use to deny your claim. In turn, he will know how to counter them.
Furthermore, you should hire a work injury attorney with a firm who actually cares about your case. We recommend you ask for references or testimonials from past clients. Be sure the lawyer you hire will actually return your phone calls and will keep you informed. Having an attorney by your side means you can focus on recovery but you also do not want to be left out in the cold as it pertains to your work comp claim.