When someone gets hurt on the job and needs to use the workers’ compensation system, there are usually two primary questions that take place.
“Do I need to get a worker’s comp attorney?” and “How much will a lawyer cost me?”
The second question is often misunderstood by the general public. Actually if you choose to hire a lawyer to help get you the most out of your claim, it will be handled on a contingency fee basis. What does this mean? It means that you don’t pay anything up front, and you don’t pay anything unless your attorney wins your case. If you win your case, then the attorney simply receives a percentage of your case benefits or settlement. That percentage in California is between 10% and 15%, depending on the complexity of your workers’ compensation claim.
Now, getting back to the original question, should you hire an attorney to help represent you. Well, only you can determine that decision, but here are some helpful facts:
- Representing yourself without the benefit of an attorney can be a tough task:
The laws in California require you to follow very specific steps, and you must follow those steps as well as present certain evidence to the judge, all of which needs to be done within the time limits they allot to you. An attorney experienced with workers’ comp can handle most of these steps, and can guide you through the rest, to help ensure that the court does not dismiss or deny your case.
- The insurance company will have a lawyer representing them:
When you have a workers’ comp hearing, that means you are in a dispute with the insurance company that represents your employer. Maybe they don’t think your injury is as serious as it is, or maybe the insurance company will try and get your case thrown out because of a procedural mistake that you made. Insurance companies have lawyers that are trained to defend against your claim. It’s unlikely that someone representing themselves can out strategize a lawyer who has a life time of knowledge in this field.
- Hiring a lawyer can improve your odds of winning your case
When an insurance company sees that you have legal representation like they do, they will often be more motivated to better negotiate or offer a fair settlement. Insurance companies base most of their decisions of cost/benefit analysis, meaning that they use statistics to make key decisions. When an insurance company sees that they are fighting a case against another attorney, they know that they are going to have to spend more time and money. If and when the insurance company offers a settlement, your attorney can also help you determine if it is a fair offer or not.
So, when determining whether or not to hire an attorney for your workers compensation claim, just remember that you can help even the playing field, without having to pay anything unless your attorney wins your case. While your lawyer will get a small portion of your award or settlement, it is statistically more likely that your lawyer will get you a much larger recovery award/settlement than if you try on your own.
If you are looking for legal representation, or even just want a free consultation, call The Law Offices of John A. Mendoza at 1-800-370-4878, we can help you right away, so call today!