Handling your own workers' compensation claim seems like it would be easy and save you the hassle of finding an attorney. Unfortunately, the insurance companies often take advantage of people who don't understand the value of their injury or the procedures to get what they need. Here are some reasons why insurance companies love it when you handle your own claim.
You Might Not Be Getting Paid Enough
In Connecticut, there is a specific formula for how to calculate your base workers' compensation rate of payment. That "comp rate" is used throughout your entire claim to calculate everything from your pay to your disability benefit. However, often insurance companies calculate this amount incorrectly and you can get paid less than you are entitled to. Not only that, sometimes they calculate your amount too high, and then demand you pay it back or they take credits out of your other benefits. Make sure you don't get taken advantage of and talk to an experienced workers' compensation attorney to make sure your rate is correct.
You Can Go To A Better Doctor
You may be entitled to choose your own doctor, however when you get injured at work, many employers send you to their preferred nurse or medical facility. Those facilities have contracts with your employer and focus on getting you back to work as soon as possible. If you have a major injury, it may not be detected and your complaints may go ignored. You may never get the medical treatment you need and not every doctor accepts workers' compensation payments or knows how to handle the claim properly. An experienced workers' compensation attorney would know how to manage your claim in a way that prioritizes your health and preserves the benefits you are entitled to.
Insurance Companies Deny Every Claim
Sometimes injured workers give up when their claim is denied. Even workers' compensation claims that are accepted by the insurance company will usually receive a form of denial. Because there is a time-limit to deny once a claim is filed, they generally file a denial automatically in every claim. A denial does not mean the injury is not covered, however, and often injured workers thinking it is a final decision and hopeless. Denials can be challenged and you may be able to get proper treatment and the back-pay you deserve. If the insurance company is denying your claim for no good legal reason, they can sometimes be subjected to penalties.
Your Claim Is Not Their Priority
Workers' compensation claims can take time, but the insurance company benefits from dragging it out. Their representative is not your friend. The employer and insurance company's goal is to spend as little money on you and your injury as possible and to close out your claim quickly to limit the costs over time. Often when you reach out to the insurance company asking about treatment or pay, they don't get back to you. Because they are busy and not prioritizing you. They will not reach out to you to remind you of upcoming appointments because, if you don't go, they can use that to deny your claim. It is common that a claim gets bounced around between different adjusters, who then need to delay even more in order to figure your claim out. You need to keep the pressure on them and, with doctor appointments and work-hours, you might not have the time or legal knowledge to make sure you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to.
How To Choose The Right Workers' Compensation Attorney
Personal attention is a big deal. Because workers' compensation can take time, you need to find an attorney that is going to give you the attention that you and your injury deserve. This is a long term investment and partnership with your attorney: you want to feel comfortable that they know your claim and are working on it in the way that benefits you as much as possible.
Oversaturated marketing is a red flag. A big name does not mean big results, and marketing at high volume takes time and money away from your cases. There are only so many hours in a day, and photo shoots, interviews, TV spots, billboards, giveaways, and radio appearances all take time and preparation, and they pull the attorney's attention away from working on your claim. Their goal is to justify their marketing budget by getting as many cases into the firm as possible. Likely that attorney will have a high case load and transfer that case to someone else in the office with a high case load to go ignored.
Responsiveness is king. There is no reason your attorney should not get back to you within 24 hours of your call or inquiry. This is another red flag and means your claim is not a priority. Perhaps your attorney has too many cases, or does not have time for you. After signing with your attorney, you may only hear from assistants or other attorneys from there on. A poorly managed office can mean your claim is being mismanaged.
Count the transfers. If you call your attorney, how many transfers does it take to get an answer? Most attorneys have a receptionist or assistant, but if your call goes from an answering service, to a receptionist, to an assistant, and maybe even to a paralegal or attorney that is not assigned to your claim, don't expect this behavior to change, it will happen every time you call.
.If you think you may be missing benefits, feel free to contact us.