Head and Brain Injury Attorneys
If you have suffered a head injury on the job and are preparing to file a workers’ compensation claim, you probably have a lot of questions about what to expect during the process. Do all workers’ comp cases end in a settlement? How often do workers’ comp cases go to trial? Our team of head and brain injury attorneys Atlanta at Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC is ready and more than happy to answer all of your questions meticulously and comprehensively. Furthermore, we will help you navigate the Georgia workers’ compensation process while ensuring that you get everything right from the onset until you get the compensation that you deserve.
Do All Workers’ Comp Cases End in a Settlement?
Most workers’ compensation cases end in settlement, with the injured worker accepting one lump sum of money. The settlement amount is intended to cover the cost of past and future medical care relating to the injury, partial or total disability, or temporary or permanent disability.
How Often Do Workers’ Comp Cases Go to Trial?
Approximately 5% of workers’ comp cases go to trial. If you are unsatisfied with the settlement amount you were offered or your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company has denied your claim, your attorney would take your case to trial.
What Factors Affect the Odds of Winning a Workers’ Comp Case?
There are several factors that can help to increase your odds of winning a workers’ comp case, including:
- Don’t Delay Reporting Your Claim: Following an injury on the job, you should report it to your employer as soon as possible without delay.
- Seek Prompt Medical Treatment: Don’t delay seeing a doctor to have your head injury treated. While there, be sure to explain that the injury happened at work. Follow your doctor’s exact recommendations, be it physical therapy, resting the injured body part, etc.
- Hire an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney: It is not technically a requirement to have an attorney with you at your hearing, but it is strongly recommended for success. Your hearing is the time to convince the judge that you are entitled to workers’ comp benefits, so you will want to have someone advocating for you who can make strong legal arguments and present solid evidence.
Settling a Workers’ Comp Claim Out of Court
Taking a workers’ compensation case to trial can put you through a lot of stress — on top of the stress you have already experienced as a result of your injury. Thankfully, as we noted above, most cases can be settled outside of court. Here is some more information on the process of settling a workers’ comp claim:
- The typical way to start settlement negotiations is to have your attorney present the insurance company with a settlement demand. The insurance company will either accept the demand, reject it, or respond with a new offer. Settlement negotiations will continue until you reach an amount you feel is fair.
- The settlement amount you are offered will depend on several factors, including but not limited to: your medical records, your job duties, and the circumstances of your injury.
- Once you have agreed to a settlement amount from the insurance company, it needs to be sent to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, where an arbitrator will review the settlement contract to determine whether it is reasonable and free of error.
Should I Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney, or Can I Handle My Own Case?
If you have suffered a work-related head injury or illness, you may be wondering whether to hire a workers’ compensation attorney. The answer depends on the severity of your head injury, the overall complexity of your case, and the actions of your employer (or its insurance company).
Learn about which work-related injuries you can probably deal with on your own—and the severe situations – such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) – when you will need help from Atlanta head and brain injury attorneys to get the benefits you deserve.
When You Can Probably Represent Yourself
Generally, you may be able to get by without an attorney if all of the following statements are true:
- You suffered a minor workplace injury, such as a twisted ankle or a cut requiring a few stitches.
- Your employer admits that the injury happened at work.
- You missed little or no work due to your injury.
- You don’t have a pre-existing condition that affects the same part of your body as the recent workplace injury (such as an old back injury from a car accident that was there before you slipped and hurt your back on the job).
Even in these relatively uncomplicated situations, it is often a good idea to consult a workers’ compensation attorney about your case. The lawyer can walk you through the process, alert you to potential pitfalls, and give you an honest appraisal of whether you can handle the case on your own.
When to Hire a Lawyer
The moment any complexity arises in your case is the moment you should hire an attorney. Here are some examples of situations that call for a lawyer’s intervention:
- Your employer denies your claim or doesn’t pay your benefits promptly. Employers and workers’ comp insurers routinely reject bona fide workers’ comp claims, confident that many workers will fail to appeal. Unfortunately, they are usually correct. Hiring a workers’ comp attorney costs nothing upfront, and it gives you the best chance to receive a fair settlement or award for your injuries.
- Your employer’s settlement offer doesn’t cover all your lost wages or medical bills. If you are not sure a settlement offer is good enough, don’t rely on the workers’ compensation judge to make sure that you are getting a fair deal. Although workers’ comp settlements must have judicial approval, judges will usually sign off on any agreement as long as it is not grossly unfair. If you really want someone to get you the best settlement possible, have an attorney by your side.
- Your medical issues prevent you from returning to your prior job, limit what you can do at work, or keep you from performing any work at all. If you have suffered permanent disability—whether partial or total—you may be entitled to weekly payments (or a single lump sum) to make up for your lost wages. These cases can be very expensive for insurance companies, and they will often stop at nothing to avoid paying you what you deserve. The knowledge, experience, and expertise of Atlanta head and brain injury attorneys are indispensable in cases involving permanent injuries or illness.
- Your boss retaliates against you for filing a workers’ comp claim. If your employer has fired you, demoted you, reduced your pay, slashed your hours, or engaged in any other form of discrimination because you filed a workers’ comp claim, you should contact a workers’ comp attorney immediately to protect your legal rights.
- You receive or plan to apply for Social Security disability benefits. If your settlement isn’t structured properly, your workers’ comp benefits could significantly lower Social Security disability payments. An experienced attorney will understand how to draft your settlement agreement to minimize or eliminate this offset.
- You were injured because of a third party’s actions or your employer’s serious misconduct conduct. The workers’ comp system was designed to prevent civil lawsuits for work-related injuries. However, you are permitted to sue outside workers’ comp in certain situations, including when someone other than your employer contributed to your injury (such as a negligent driver who hit you while you were driving for work), your employer doesn’t have workers’ comp insurance, or your employer intentionally caused your injury. An experienced workplace injury lawyer will be able to explain how the law applies to your situation.
What Your Attorney Will Do for You
In addition to making sure you file all the necessary forms and meet the deadlines, an experienced attorney will know how to gather the evidence needed to support your case, negotiate effectively with the insurance company, and write a settlement agreement to avoid unanticipated consequences.
If you can’t agree on a good settlement, your attorney can prepare for and represent you at the hearing or trial.
Tilting the Scales in Your Favor!
The workers’ compensation system may have been intended to provide prompt and fair compensation to injured workers. But now, it seems to work mostly for the benefit of employers and insurers.
Moreover, insurance companies have teams of highly trained workers’ comp lawyers on their side. Hiring a seasoned workers’ comp attorney will go a long way toward tilting the scales in your favor. And because of the way workers’ comp attorneys charge for their services, your lawyer will only receive a limited percentage of what you win.
If you are in any doubt about your ability to handle your claim yourself, don’t hesitate to call our workers’ comp attorney for a free consultation. Whether your workers’ comp case is brought to trial or settled through negotiation, you can count on the head and brain injury attorneys at Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC to look out for your best interests ardently.
Head and Brain Injury Attorneys
Just like the many clients we have helped get a favorable settlement or verdict over our years in practice, we want to see you get the benefits you deserve. Call us now at (470) 268-5802 or contact us online today to get started with a FREE, no-obligation consultation/case review.