After filing a workers' compensation claim, you may be one of the countless injured workers across the country who will seek out an attorney's assistance. After all, hiring an attorney can help to focus on recovery versus sorting out the legalese on your own. Nonetheless, an injured employee's work isn't done after hiring an advocate and the actions that you take can greatly impact your case.
What can clients do to help their workers' compensation claim?
Respond to your attorney's requests for information.
Your lawyer will request additional information from you throughout the process. They may ask for an update on your medical treatment, if you've returned to work and if you're receiving the benefits that you are entitled.
For your lawyer to obtain your medical records, personnel files and other items that are necessary for your case, you will need to provide your written consent. When you receive such authorizations, review them, fill them out promptly and return them as soon as possible. If you require further information before signing, do not hesitate to reach out for clarification. Failure to do so can result in delays in your case. If a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC) is assisting you, communicating with them and maintaining an amicable relationship can also be crucial.
Attend all required hearings and meetings.
You may be asked to attend several hearings or meetings with your attorney. These can include depositions, settlement conferences and mediation sessions. If you receive a notice of any meetings where your presence is required, it is critical that you make note of the date and do your best to attend. If you are unable to attend an event where your attendance is required, inform your attorney as soon as possible so that other arrangements can be made.
Show up at all scheduled medical appointments.
Having significant gaps in treatment may result in the insurance company denying you of benefits. Failing to seek treatment altogether can also jeopardize your case. This is of the utmost importance when it comes to Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs), where a physician will evaluate your injuries and issue a report. You can even be charged a fee if you fail to attend your appointment or to notify your attorney that you are unable to attend in a timely manner.
Reach out to your lawyer with updates.
Has there been a change in your job duties, hours or employment status? Are you missing work to attend appointments? Have you stopped treating for your injury or started seeking treatment at a new facility? You should inform your legal team of any changes related to your work or medical treatment to ensure that bills will be paid and benefit payments will be made. If you are unable to communicate over the phone or in person, you can provide updates via email or mail.
Be ready to do some legwork, but recognize the value that hiring an attorney can add to your case. There is much that happens behind the scenes and your involvement and presence can be indispensable to receive the maximum compensation that you are entitled. If you are considering hiring an attorney or are dissatisfied with your current legal help, you may want to reach out to another lawyer to learn more about your rights under the law.