When it comes to filing a workers' compensation claim in California, many injured workers question if hiring an attorney is in their best interests. As is the case in all areas of the law, this is a commonly asked question that is very dependent on a person’s unique circumstances. Hiring legal representation (or not) can mean the difference between obtaining a favorable outcome in court and being denied the help you deserve.
It’s common for California residents to worry about finances when preparing for court—and understandably so, as filing fees and court costs tend to add up quickly. It’s imperative to understand that forgoing your right to representation for the sole purpose of cutting costs can have detrimental consequences.
In some cases, failure to collaborate with a trusted attorney can result in losing your case, not to mention considerable financial losses. As you can imagine, this can lead hardworking people to feel as though they’ve invested their precious time and effort for nothing. A skilled workers' compensation lawyer can help you understand the legal process, protect your rights, and guide your legal steps accordingly to achieve a favorable legal outcome.
Keep reading to learn more about how a workers’ comp attorney can help you and whether hiring one would benefit your specific case.
Risks of Self-Representation (“Pro Se”) in a Workers’ Comp Case
Justice often comes at a price, making it all the more crucial for California workers to invest wisely in their future. While it can be possible for employees to represent themselves “pro se” (without an attorney) in a workers’ comp case, this is rarely recommended, as large insurance firms have access to funds, resources, and power that the average employee does not.
It’s common for insurers and other large organizations to take advantage of claimants who are unfamiliar with the legal process. While it's possible for self-represented parties to recover compensation, there’s a very good chance that the amount is considerably less than the claimant deserves, as insurers are known to bait claimants with lowballed settlements when they’re entitled to much more.
Insurance companies have access to funds and resources that the average person does not, but more importantly, they have their own attorneys to help reduce payouts and stay as profitable as possible, even if that comes at the expense of others' person’s pain and suffering. As such, having strong legal representation in court can be an invaluable asset to your workers’ comp case.
4 Reasons to Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney in California
When filing for workers' compensation in California, having a lawyer on your side can help ensure that you receive the full compensation that you are rightfully entitled to.
California employees should consider hiring a lawyer to assist with a workers’ comp claim because:
1. Your insurer won’t prioritize your health, but your attorney will.
When injured workers file workers’ comp claims, they often do so with the following priorities in mind:
- To restore their physical health; and
- Acquire sufficient financial means to do so.
However, it’s safe to assume that your insurer has other priorities in mind. Because medical costs are insurance companies’ biggest expense, firms often do everything in their power to limit the payout, even if that means jeopardizing the claimant’s health or even their life. Your lawyer can help hold your carrier accountable and flag any attempts to undermine your needs.
2. Your lawyer can make sure your benefits aren’t terminated prematurely.
Keep this in mind: the more skilled an insurance adjuster is at limiting your income benefits, the more successful their career will be. In other words, the less you receive, the more the insurance company will profit from your suffering.
A qualified attorney can prevent your insurer from unlawfully terminating your income benefits before it’s appropriate to do so.
3. Your attorney can help you follow court procedures to the letter.
For those of us without law degrees, navigating court proceedings after filing a workers’ comp claim can be overwhelming and confusing. Fortunately, you don’t have to circumnavigate the legal intricacies of workers’ compensation by yourself.
Claimants must comply with all court procedures and processes very meticulously to be successful. Even small errors, such as overlooking a form or failing to include key documentation, can result in a prompt rejection from the court.
Given their in-depth knowledge of state and federal laws, your lawyer is well-equipped to be your guide throughout each step of the court proceedings, as they can ensure that you meet appropriate deadlines, fill out paperwork correctly, clarify legal jargon, and determine the most effective legal strategy to employ for your unique case.
4. Your lawyer can level the playing field in court.
Big insurance firms have a highly trained legal team at their disposal. More often than not, these lawyers have extensive experience finding loopholes and flagging opportunities to benefit the company they’re employed with—at your expense, of course.
Fortunately, your attorney can level the playing field by eliminating the unfair power balance between powerful insurers—many of whom perceive themselves to be above the law—and California employees.
Choose a Firm with an Exclusive Focus on Workers’ Comp
At Alvandi Law Group, our exceptional legal team understands how stressful it can be to sustain an injury on the job. Workplace accidents can result in lasting damages for California employees—not just physically, but financially.
Our nation’s backlogged bureaucratic processes can be difficult to wade through, let alone complete. Many employees find themselves trapped in a frustrating limbo after filing for workers’ comp—an issue worsened by insurers’ knack for giving workers the run-around for as long as possible. Fortunately, our experienced workers’ comp attorneys have a successful track record of holding companies and insurers accountable.
With over 75 years of collective experience, our firm is well-equipped to represent injured workers in a range of workers’ comp cases, from machine malfunctions to toxic exposure to PTSD claims for first responders. Reach out today to discuss your case with a trusted legal advocate you can count on to keep your best interests at heart.
Filing a workers’ comp claim can be intimidating. Our dedicated attorneys can protect your rights from insurers who try to take advantage. Call (800) 980-6905 to schedule a free consultation.