Can I Settle My Workers’ Comp Case Without an Attorney in Virginia?
Workers who have suffered a work-related illness or injury will likely face the question of whether or not to hire a workers’ compensation attorney.
The answer depends on several factors – including the actions of the employer or the insurance company, the severity of the injury, and the complexity of the case.
In Virginia, it is not legally required for a worker to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to represent them. They’re allowed to represent themselves to get the benefits they’re entitled to.
However, in certain cases, not hiring a lawyer can be a recipe for disaster.
Can I Represent Myself in a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Case?
In general, a worker can get the claims process started and completed without hiring a workers’ comp lawyer in the following situations:
- The injury is minor and won’t require surgery or long-term care.
- The worker missed less than a week of work.
- Both the employer and its insurance company admit that the injury happened at work or while the worker was performing a work-related task.
- The worker does not have a pre-existing injury condition that may have been exacerbated or adversely affected by the new injury.
- The injury did not lead to permanent restrictions.
If all of the above conditions apply to the case, the worker can opt for self-representation.
However, even in seemingly airtight cases, some workers tend to make small omissions or errors that can later snowball into a heartbreaking loss. Insurance companies will always try to find loopholes that will let them off the hook—and they have skilled lawyers on their side to make this happen.
When Do I Need a Workers’ Comp Lawyer?
It’s natural for any worker to want to get back to the grind as soon as possible after they receive a settlement offer from their employer or insurance company. Many of these workers may even believe that the settlement they’re getting is a fair amount that properly reflects the extent of the injury and any treatment that may be needed.
But most workers simply don’t know enough about the law to interpret and apply it properly to their case. Many unrepresented workers make choices that can adversely affect the value of the settlement.
The stakes can be high when it comes to getting a fair settlement, and it’s crucial that the worker gets it right the first time. A workers’ comp lawyer can help with this.
Here are some situations when hiring a workers’ comp lawyer is the best option:
- The employer or their insurance company denies your claim or fails to pay benefits on time. Most employers and insurers rely on the fact that many workers don’t know enough about their rights and will fail to file an appeal.
- The settlement offer is insufficient to pay for the medical bills or lost wages. A lawyer will help ensure that the worker is getting the best settlement possible.
- The worker is unable to return to work temporarily or permanently and may need to apply for disability benefits.
- The employer threatens to retaliate or has already retaliated against the worker for filing a claim.
- The worker isn’t getting proper medical attention.
- The employer refuses to accommodate recommended medical restrictions
In the situations enumerated above, a workers comp lawyer will help make the process easier by handling the paperwork, gathering evidence, working with specialists, witnesses, and physicians, and preparing a winning strategy.
Contact a Slominski Law Today
The minute you sign on that dotted line, your settlement is final and you don’t get a second chance.
To avert a potential disaster, or just make sure you have peace of mind getting a fair settlement, schedule a free consultation with experienced Virginia workers’ comp lawyer Jaleh Slominski. She will make sure that you’re getting the amount you rightfully deserve.