If you are ever injured on the job, it’s important to seek a consultation with a reliable workers’ comp attorney to determine if you have a case. In a typical consultation of about 15 to 30 minutes, there are certain aspects that a lawyer will cover to learn more about the nature of the injury to decide whether or not you’re eligible for compensation.
This checklist will review all of the information you should gather and be able to provide during a consultation.
1. When Did Your Work Injury Happen?
One of the first things an attorney will want to know in a free workers’ comp consultation is when the work injury occurred. The amount of time that’s passed since an injury could hinder a case if you waited too long to seek treatment, report it, or file a claim. You may have also sustained a workplace injury over time as a result of repetitive trauma or in a single isolated incident.
2. Location of Work Injury
Another aspect of your work injury that an attorney will want to know is where the injury occurred. This could factor into whether or not your case is considered valid, depending on whether or not you sustained the injury at the job site or off-site in a company vehicle or your own.
3. How Did the Work Environment Lead to Your Work Injury?
The specific cause of a work-related injury will also help the attorney determine if you have a viable case. It’s important to be able to clearly explain what contributed to your injury, whether it was malfunctioning equipment, employee or employer negligence, or a generally hazardous and poorly maintained environment. The cause will help determine who was at fault for the injury.
4. Type of Injury
There are many different types of injuries that can occur in the workplace and for which you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Common Types of Workers’ Comp Injuries
Some of the most common types of workers’ comp injuries include:
- Crushes caused by warehouse and heavy machinery
- Construction accidents
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Repetitive trauma injury
- Head and neck injuries
- Burns and electrical injuries
- Hearing loss
- Vision loss
- Loss of limbs or amputation
- Knee, shoulder, and elbow injuries
- Wrongful death
- Transportation accidents
- Healthcare-related injuries
- Work-related illnesses
Any of these injuries could warrant a workers’ comp claim with the help of an attorney.
5. Did You Report the Injury to a Supervisor or Employer?
A crucial step to take following an injury is to report it to a supervisor or employer. If you fail to report your injury to the appropriate personnel on time, your employer will be able to deny you out-of-work benefits and medical treatment. On notifying your employer, they will be required to fill out a form for you that documents the injury, of which you should retain a copy for your personal records.
Just because an injury seems small doesn’t mean you should avoid notifying your employer or supervisor. For instance, you may experience an injury that seems mild, leading you to seek treatment without informing anybody about the injury. Several years later, you experience pain in the same location of the previous injury and suspect it might be connected to the original injury, but without sufficient documentation of the initial incident, it will be more difficult to get any benefits.
6. Were There Any Witnesses When the Injury Occurred?
Another aspect that could help you build a case is to have one or more witnesses to a work-related injury who can testify in your favor. Reliable witnesses will be able to provide additional supporting details during a hearing that aren’t included in the exhibit. These individuals can include the claimant, co-workers’, medical professionals, family members, and vocational experts.
7. Are You Currently Working?
A workers’ comp attorney will also want to know if you’re still working. In many cases, going back to work following an injury could forfeit the right to receive checks for workers’ compensation. However, under certain circumstances, such as once you are completely healed and if you otherwise get along with your employer or co-workers, an attorney may advise you to continue working.
8. Do You Have Any Documented Examinations or Injury Reports from a Medical Professional?
You should also seek treatment for your injury as soon as possible after notifying your employer or supervisor, and ensure you get documentation of all exams or reports from doctors or other medical professionals. Having these documents will reinforce your claim regarding the severity of your injury, helping to further secure compensation. In addition to providing documentation, your doctors and other professionals will be able to provide a testimony that backs your claims.
9. Did You File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
In some cases, work injury victims may be able to file a claim without an attorney if they meet the following criteria:
- Sustained mild workplace injuries such as sprained ankles or minor cuts
- Employer admits to the occurrence of the injury
- Little to no work is missed as a result of the injury
- No pre-existing conditions are present that affect the same location as the more recent injury
However, regardless of whether or not these are true, it’s always ideal to consult with an attorney before filing a claim to help guide you through the claims process.
10. Have You Been Contacted by a Workers’ Compensation Insurance Adjuster or Representative?
If you report your work-related injury, a workers’ compensation insurance adjuster or representative may reach out to you soon after. It’s important to keep in mind that these individuals want to try to save the insurance company’s money at the claimant’s expense, so it’s best to avoid viewing them as a friend looking out for your best interests.
During a consultation, an attorney can give you advice on what to say to an adjuster or representative to avoid hurting your case.
11. Was Your Workman’s Compensation Claim Denied?
In some cases, an employer may deny a workers’ comp claim, which could result from a number of factors pertaining to cost, including premium costs, employer bias (often in cases where pain isn’t entirely medically verified), and other reasons. An attorney can discuss the denial with you in a consultation and help you fight it, while advising you throughout the process.
How Vasilatos Injury Law Can Help You
The experienced and reliable attorneys at Vasilatos Injury Law can discuss your needs and provide you with the representation you need in a workers’ comp case. If you believe you have a case, contact us for a free workers’ comp consultation and one of our lawyers will look over any gathered information to help determine if you’re eligible to receive compensation.