The goal of a workers’ compensation lawyer representing the defendant is to mitigate the defendant’s liability. Typical job functions of the lawyer are to gather medical evidence and workplace medical records. They may also be known as a workplace injury lawyer.
Not every injured worker needs to hire an attorney. Many workers benefit greatly from hiring a lawyer. In very few cases, an employee who suffers an injury at work can claim outside of workers’ compensation.
Accidents can happen anytime and in any place. In the case of workers and laborers, a broken injury or falling from a height is common. They help accident victims to recover compensation due to injuries, including medical bills and lost wages.
Benefits provided by Workers’ Compensation Lawyer:
For accident victims, they provide benefits such as:
- Permanent total disability benefits
- Permanent partial disability benefits
- Temporary partial disability benefits
- Medical benefits
- Wage reimbursement benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits
Overall Duties of Workers’ Compensation attorney:
The ultimate goal of the attorney is to help a working individual to receive their payments. Typical job functions include the following:
- To gather medical evidence and medical records
- To take depositions of the claimant, physicians, and medical experts
- Conducting discovery
- Draft pleadings, fact-findings, and other legal documents
- To litigate cases before a judge or a referee
Claimant Attorney Duties:
An attorney representing the claimant will typically:
- Answer client’s questions and guide them according to workers’ compensation process
- To contact medical providers and complete paperwork relating to them
- To represent the interest of the claimants at hearings, trials, depositions, oral arguments, mediations, arbitrations, and proceedings
- Help the injured workers with benefits including medical care
- Communicate the worker’s supervisors on the status of the injury
- Negotiate settlements on behalf of claimants
Specific Defense Attorney Duties:
Attorney on the defense side will:
- To represent the interest of the employer or the insurer at hearings, trials, depositions, oral arguments, mediations, arbitrations, and other proceedings
- Communicate with claims representatives
- Monitor loss run reports of trends
- Help with the investigation of accidents and problematic areas
- Manage compensation costs of the workers
- Submit reports required by company management
- Coordinate and attend claims reviews
- Settle disputes on behalf of the insurance company
Skills and Knowledge:
Some of the essential legal skills of them include:
- Experience of litigation and strong trial experience
- Working knowledge of compensation laws and procedures
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Ability to work under pressure
- Excellent negotiation skills
- Ability to work both independently and in a team environment
- Excellent technology skills
- Understanding of medical, scientific, engineering, and similar issues
Workers’ compensation lawyer must be an undergraduate degree holder, with four years in a law school, and must have a license by passing a bar exam from the state he or she wants to practice.
Claimant lawyers usually don’t charge an hourly fee. They work on a contingency basis. They collect a percentage of around 10% to 33% from the claimant. Defense lawyers are more likely to work for or be retained by insurance companies and employers.
They work in an office environment, often employed in a law firm or a corporate department. They are liable to frequent travel to hearings, arbitrations, depositions, and job sites. They often have to work for long hours due to travel to hearings and depositions in distant locations.
How do they get paid?
Attorneys usually get a fixed percentage of benefits that a sick or injured worker receives. A workers’ compensation lawyer typically gets between 15% to 25% of the settlement amount. In a case where you settle for $40,000, your attorney’s fee could be between $6,000 to $10,000.
What happens in a Workers’ Compensation case?
During a workers’ compensation lawsuit trial, the judge evaluates the case and determine a fair settlement. Once the judge decides on an amount, the insurance company pays the claim and the settlement is complete.
How much is a typical workers’ comp settlement?
The average compensation received by workers for their injuries was $21,800. At the extreme ends of the scale, 12% of the workers receive less than $2,000. Only 8% of the workers receive between $60,000 to $100, 000. The majority of workers, 55% received between $2,000 to $20,000.
From the above discussion, we can derive a clear concept about the duties, roles, and responsibilities of lawyers and workers’ compensation attorney. An experienced professional helps victims of a workplace illness or injury, and pursue the benefits they deserve. Every year, victims file millions of such compensation claims.
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