Do I need to get a lawyer for a workers’ compensation case?
If you’ve been injured at work, you may be wondering if you need to get a lawyer involved. If your claim is rejected or you’re suffering from a serious ongoing injury, it can be helpful to have an expert on your side. Dealing with an insurer as well as recovering from an injury can be a lot to handle on your own. We quizzed Robert Bryden, a workers’ compensation law expert, on when you need a lawyer and why.
When will I need a workers’ compensation lawyer?
First up, it helps to understand the initial claims process. If you’ve been injured, you need to make a workers’ compensation claim through your employer. This is submitted to the insurer, who either rejects or approves your claim.
It’s at this stage that engaging a lawyer may be helpful for you. If the case is rejected, then you must get a lawyer to fight for your rights. The insurer will send a process form to you, so you can have your claim escalated within their organisation. However, 9 out of 10 times they will stand by their initial decision. A specialist lawyer has the skills to fight this effectively.
If your claim is approved, it is still worth getting input from a lawyer. Workers’ compensation typically covers a percentage of your regular weekly pay, along with medical bills and rehabilitation costs. However, depending on the seriousness of your injury, you may be entitled to a lump sum payment. A lawyer can help you understand your entitlements and make a case for this if need be.
What are the benefits of a workers’ compensation lawyer?
Along with assisting you with the outcome of your claim, there are other reasons why engaging a workers’ compensation lawyer can be beneficial. “A workers’ compensation lawyer is invaluable because they understand the system,” says Robert. “More often than not, it will be your first time dealing with this process, whereas I have personally handled thousands of cases.”
“A specialist lawyer will also know how to manage the demands of insurance companies and employers,” Robert explains. “For example, I often see insurers push for workers to return to work before they are ready. The other thing that employers may try to do is manage an employee out by suggesting they don’t have an appropriate role to meet their situation of reduced capacity. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and will know when it’s appropriate to push back.”
Without a lawyer, you might also not see the ramifications of your injury long term. “We had a client who was working at a supermarket in the packaging section,” Robert explains. “She had sore feet from standing for so long on incorrect flooring. This consequently resulted in damage to her back. Now she can’t stand for long periods in any role, which is not something that she initially considered. From experience, we were able to see that her injury would have a long-term impact on her ability to work and we accounted for this when making her case.” This is just one example of where a workers’ compensation lawyer can help protect you.
Are workers’ compensation lawyers expensive?
Often people are concerned that they may end up with huge legal bills if they decide to engage a lawyer. Luckily, the NSW government has implemented a scheme to cover workers in this situation. Workers can have their initial legal bills paid for by the Independent Review Office (IRO), so you will not be out of pocket.
“It’s important to note that to have your legal bills covered for a workers’ compensation case, you need to find an IRO approved lawyer,” Robert explains. “Robert Bryden Lawyers is IRO approved, so once you approach us, we file a legal aid request on your behalf and are paid directly by the IRO. This eases the financial burden.”
So, if you have been injured at work and are not happy with the outcome of your workers’ compensation claim, then it’s worth getting in touch with a lawyer like Robert Bryden to help you get the right outcome.