The short and simple answer is that you should consult with a New Orleans workers comp lawyer as soon as possible after a workplace accident. It is true that there are some simple and straightforward cases where the attorney’s involvement is minimal. But they are rare.
In general, injured workers have to face several difficulties until they get their benefits. In each of the following situations, having a lawyer will increase your chances of getting the maximum benefits you deserve:
Your Employer Says that You Are an Independent Contractor, Not an Employee
Only W-2 employees benefit from workers compensation coverage in Louisiana. Independent contractors are considered to be self-employed and supplying services to a client. Many employers take advantage of this to classify their employees as independent contractors.
However, a lawyer knows that there are ways of proving that you were intentionally misclassified. The IRS 20-factor test, for example, is frequently used to prove that a person is an employee, not an independent contractor. Thus, the employer should accept their workers comp claim.
The Employer or Their Insured Deny that You Were Injured at Work
Workers comp benefits are available if you can prove two key elements:
- You were on the clock when the accident happened (lunch breaks are not covered)
- You were performing activities within your scope of employment.
Thus, employers and their workers compensation insurers often use one of the following arguments to deny your claim:
- You suffered the injury at home or in other circumstances not related to work.
- You were not on the clock when the accident happened.
- You were doing an activity outside your regular job duties when you were injured.
These arguments are hard to overcome if you don’t have a New Orleans workers comp attorney by your side. Lawyers know how to identify reliable evidence and use legal principles to prove your case.
The Insurer Delays Making a Decision about Your Claim
When you don’t have a lawyer, you may lose benefits even if you have a strong case. One common tactic insurance adjusters apply is to delay the process as much as possible. When the deadline for filing a claim – one year after the date of your accident – expires, the insurer will deny your claim.
Since it is too late to file a claim, you will be left with medical care debt and lost wages. A
lawyer will not allow the insurer to use these delay tactics. They will insist on reaching a settlement within a reasonable period of time.
Attorneys always take into account the fact that they may have to file an appeal for a denied claim and follow all the steps in this separate procedure.
You Are Offered a Quick Settlement for Your Claim
When insurance adjusters offer quick settlements, it is never good news for you. This happens when the insurance company realizes that you have a strong case and your medical care costs will be very expensive.
Once you’ve accepted the settlement, you cannot go back and ask for more money. Thus, you should have an experienced attorney by your side to evaluate your actual costs with treatments, hospitalization, and prescription medication plus replacement wages. The lawyer will present the insurance company with a counteroffer, representing the actual value of the eligible benefits you should receive.
You Have an Old Injury or Pre-Existing Condition
Workers with a pre-existing medical condition or injury often see their claims denied. Insurance companies claim that you did not suffer new injuries. Or, they will say that people without your pre-existing condition would not have suffered such extensive injuries.
However, these are not grounds for denying your benefits. An experienced lawyer will show that, even with a pre-existing condition, you were injured, needed medical care, and were unable to work for a period of time. And, under Louisiana workers comp law, you should get benefits.
A New Orleans Workers Comp Lawyer Can Protect Your Rights!
Employers and their insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. They will try to deny or devalue your workers comp claim if they can get away with it.
The only way of making sure you get the best outcome is by hiring a New Orleans workers comp lawyer to negotiate with the insurer. Using knowledge of the law, experience, and solid evidence, an attorney can obtain the benefits you deserve.
We offer each new client a free case review, so don’t wait any longer. Call us today at 504-420-2755!