So, you’ve hurt yourself, you’ve gotten the papers, you’ve gotten a nostice of contest. What do you do now? It’s important to talk to a lawyer at that point if you can. Most lawyers don’t charge anything for
you to talk to them. They’ll have a pretty good idea when you lay out what’s happened what the insurance company is going to
do. Do I really need a lawyer? Not always. A lot of times it’s just an
investigation by the insurance company, but if you’ve got any kind of serious
injury and they filed that notice of contest, it’s a good idea to have one and the
reason is because you’re not going to get any temporary disability what’s also lost wages to you until the point at which they admit liability. If they’re going to contest it all the way
up through a hearing, it’s better to have a lawyer right from
the start, so that the lawyer can file an
application for hearing to take in front of a judge and have a judge
decide whether or not you’ve been able to prove that you were hurt at work. The burden of proof is on you. If you have a lawyer early on, you’ll be
able to tell what the strengths and weaknesses of the
case are. As an example, I had a client not too long ago who fell down at work. She was carrying some boxes and she tripped over something in the carpet, fell down, and had a pretty serious arm and
back injury. They didn’t admit liability. They contested it. Now you’d say, “Okay, well she was at work, she was going across the carpet in her office, she tripped on the carpet and she fell
down. How could they contest that?” Well, a lot of times insurance companies
will contest any kind of fall if they give you, if you have a
recorded statement, and in the recorded statement you say, “I don’t know why I fell,” They’re going to say, “Well, if you don’t
know, then it’s not work related.” If you were to say,”I tripped on a piece of
carpet or I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk,” that’s different. But the adjuster knows this already
before they talk to you. So the adjuster’s going to say, “Well, do you know what happened?” and if you say, “I really don’t know what I tripped on,” then they’re going to deny liability. So, if they deny liability for any reason, that’s the time to talk to a lawyer. But let’s say they admit liability, let’s
say that they say, “Okay, we agree you’re hurt at work and you’re getting treatment and we’re going to start paying
temporary disability.” Do I need to see a lawyer at that point? That really depends on how serious the
injuries are. If there’s any possibility that you
think you might not be able to go back to the type of work that you did before you got hurt I think you should see a lawyer early rather than late. Because at the end of the case the lawyers can have a much better handle on how to advise you if you’re not going to be able to go
back to the type of work you were doing before if you’ve been with that lawyer the whole
time. That doesn’t mean you have to see a
lawyer but it’s probably a good idea to consult
with one if you think you’re not going be able to go back to work. But let’s say you’ve got a serious laceration
on your arm. Do you need a lawyer? Probably
not. The insurance company is going to pay for the
medical treatment, they’re going to pay you while you’re off
work. When the laceration gets better, you’re going to go back to work. They’re going to put you in a position
where you’re probably okay without a lawyer. A lawyer’s important when there’s uncertainty, when they’ve denied liability, when they’re
not paying you the correct amount for your average weekly wage. When you find that they’ve gotten to the point where the doctor is
not treating you and you feel like there’s more treatment
that should have been given. Lawyers know what they’re supposed to give you and what they’re not supposed to give you.