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Workers' Compensation: If You Have Been Injured, Do You Need An Attorney?

Below is useful information for Workers' Compensation

If You Have Been Injured, Do You Need An Attorney?

That is a question we hear quite often. Not just from potential clients, but from existing clients, friends, family, and pretty much anyone who has been injured in an accident.

Since representing people for their injuries is what we do for a living, it is hardly surprising that we believe anyone who is injured in a car accident or at work requires representation. However, we believe that this position comes not from a personal bias but from our personal experiences with these sorts of cases.

Unrepresented and represented people alike can have a smooth beginning to their cases. Early in cases, adjusters representing the insurance company can often be very accommodating and cooperative. Their cooperation should not be mistaken for protecting the interests of the injured person. Their job is not to protect the consumer, make sure they get treated, or make sure that they get every benefit that is coming to them. Their job is to protect their insurance company. If at times the interests of the insurance company and the injured party align, they are usually very helpful. Once those interests cease to be aligned, the injured party usually suffers a rude awakening to the true nature of the relationship.

Another group of people who can be deceptively helpful, especially in a work injury, are Human Resources Departments. The main problem with HR Departments is that they may have the best of intentions. However, they are certainly not experts in Delaware law or work injuries. While it is rarely malicious, sometimes the HR Department can do more harm than good to a case.

Why not just wait for something to go wrong and then call an attorney? We think the best answer to this is the one our associate, James Donovan, gave to his father in law when he asked James this same question: He owns an electrical company that specializes in installing solar panels. In fact, his company installed the solar panels on my roof. I simply asked if maybe I should have just installed the solar panels myself and then called them if something went wrong down the line. His answer to that hypothetical was I was just as likely to burn down my own house as install them correctly, due to my lack of any training or experience installing solar panels.

The exact same is true in an injury case. An unrepresented person can do the equivalent of "burning down their house" before they even know something is wrong in the case and all an attorney can do it explain to them the cause of the fire. Here are two good examples of the many ways that insurance companies let a person walk themselves right off of a ledge.

The first is a car accident victim who had seven months of manipulative care without ever getting a single diagnostic test done or seeing an orthopedic doctor. When her own insurance company decided that she didn't need any further care, there wasn't an objective finding or an orthopedic doctor in her corner to argue with them. Any testing or treatment with a specialist would have to be paid out of pocket just to see if she did require any more treatment. Had we seen her promptly, we would have recommended that she seek an opinion from an orthopedic doctor from the beginning of her case, when the insurance company would have paid for it and any objective testing that he ordered.

The second is a person who was injured at work. Her work was cooperative, accommodating her work restrictions, paying her medical bills, even paying her mileage which most insurance companies do not do for unrepresented persons. After she had surgery, which was paid for, she was completely out of work. She happily received her lost wages from the insurance company until her doctor decided she could attempt to return to work on a trial basis. Unfortunately, the trial basis failed. When she went back out of work, suddenly the lost wages did not come. When she came to see us, we noticed that during her time receiving lost wages, a certain form hadn't been filled out. If it had been, getting her back on lost wages would have been a simple matter. Instead, it would likely take months for her to resume getting benefits. During that time she would not be getting lost wages.

This was obviously not the consumer’s fault. Insurance companies are very good at making people felt taken care of at the beginning of a case. They know that the longer they keep an attorney out of the case, the better their chances get of saving money. Adjusters are trained to deal with people who are unrepresented. Insurance companies do not make money by being fair to people with claims. They do not make money by being nice. They make money by giving injured people the least they can.

To be clear, this doesn't mean that getting an attorney later in your case is hopeless. It is simply less than ideal. The advice for that person is the same as for one early in their case: Go get an attorney.

Another good reason is that there is no downside to talking to an attorney about your case. Retaining a good injury attorney costs nothing up front. Almost every injury attorney works on a contingency basis. There is literally nothing to lose by at least calling an attorney and making an appointment for a free consultation.

The last, and to some people most important, reason for getting an attorney is that it makes the case much simpler. Our staff strives to make the process of having an injury case as streamlined as possible. We tell every client that their job is to get better, our job is to deal with their case. An unrepresented person has both of those jobs.

In the end, the question must be asked, can someone get by without an attorney? Sure, you can get by without an attorney, just like James could have crawled onto his roof and installed his own solar panels. Just because something can be done, though, does not make it a wise decision. Our advice to anyone who was injured by the fault of another person, be they friends and family, former clients, or complete strangers reading this article online, is to get an attorney. It really is as simple as that.

For over thirty years, our firm has helped thousands of people receive compensation for their injuries, including medical bills and lost wages. Call us today at 1-888-408-0606 for a free consultation.

 

 


Workers' Compensation Attorneys: We have 13 Attorneys in 7 convenient locations in Delaware to help you through your time of need and ease your suffering. Click here to view our Attorneys pages and profiles

Matthew Fogg

Personal Injury, Worker's Compensation, Bankruptcy.

Jessica Welch

Personal Injury, Worker's Compensation.

Donald Marston

Personal Injury, Worker's Compensation.

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The information on this website is offered for general informational or educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. It is our intention to keep the materials current but there is no guarantee they are up to date. Do not act or rely upon the information without seeking the advice of an attorney. Most of the attorneys in our firm are licensed and practice in the State of Delaware. The information provided in this website deals, for the most part, with the laws of Delaware. Although Delaware is the primary practice jurisdiction of our firm, we also have attorneys licensed in other states, including PA, NJ & MD. Eric M. Doroshow is the attorney in the firm primarily responsible for maintaining this website.© Law offices Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz and Bhaya, 2009-2015. This website is advertising material as defined by the DE Rules of Professional Conduct. Powered by DTOnline.