Three Considerations When Seeking a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
People often refer friends and relatives to me who are “looking for a workers’ compensation attorney”. Workers Compensation (“WC”) is one of those areas of law that few people get educated on during law school, so many lawyers will want to pass these matters on like the hot potato from that schoolyard game. To help you determine whether it’s time to discuss your WC matter with an attorney, I often respond with the following information:
- You don’t necessarily need an attorney to start a claim. Your employer is supposed to provide you with the Claimant Packet after a work-related injury. You can also contact the Workers’ Compensation Board. If your employer or its insurance carrier controvert your claim, you would be wise to get an attorney, or if you think the process is too complicated for you to handle on your own. (It can be!)
- If you are an employer, have WC insurance, and an employee has filed a claim against you, contact the insurance carrier. Under your policy, the carrier has a duty to defend you, so you won’t typically need separate counsel. Carriers work regularly with WC defense attorneys and will assign experienced counsel for you.
- If you are an employer, do not have WC insurance, and an employee (or independent contractor) has filed a claim against you, call me (or another attorney) promptly to discuss your options. These cases can get complicated and costly very quickly.
NOTE: This post is a general overview of the types of workers’ compensation issues parties might encounter. It is not legal advice, and there is certainly no guarantee that any of the actions detailed above will generate a similar or specific result. Past success is never a guarantee of a future outcome. If you require information or advice applied to your unique situation, please make an appointment to discuss it with an attorney. Don’t rely solely on what you read on the Internet.
Nance L. Schick, Esq. is a former Employee Relations Representative/Human Resources Supervisor and has been litigating workers' compensation matters for employers and claimants since 2002. Trained in mediation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (“ICERM”), she also mediates business, employment, and ethno-religious conflicts and serves as ICERM's Main Representative to the United Nations. She takes a mediator's approach, even to litigation, with the goal of leaving her clients more empowered than she found them, regardless of the outcome.