We have come very far in civilization still some behaviors push us back to the Stone Age when every matter was only resolved with brute force. We get to see an example of that behavior in our workplaces. Despite strict laws and regulations, it’s not easy for an employee to get his/her due right. One of those rights is worker’s compensation, which is a form of insurance and medical benefits offered by the company to the employee if he is injured or disabled during employment.
Companies are obliged by law to provide some basic benefits, while some may be offered additionally as per the company’s policy. All these benefits and covers are discussed in the employment contract when you join a company. Many of us don’t pay attention to terms and policies on the contract, and occasionally end up missing many of our benefits. However, no agreement can deprive you of your basic rights.
You should always stand up for your rights and fight for them. While many good companies work for the good of its employees and consider them family, many employers see their workers merely as tools. They would try to avoid extra expenses by cutting your benefits. You should know your complete rights and benefits before you join a firm. If you are confused, you should ask your employer about them. When you see that worker’s compensation is your right and the employer isn’t planning to pay it, you should ask for it. If they cause problems, you can always have an attorney help with workers compensation. In this article, I’ve discussed everything you should know about hiring a lawyer for this job.
What to Consider Before Hiring a Lawyer
You should go to court only when there is no other choice left. Hiring a lawyer doesn’t mean there is going to be a fight. A lawyer will be speaking on your behalf to ensure nothing is said that can deprive you of your rights. However, no company appreciates it when you lawyer-up against them and there could be consequences. That’s why you should ponder over a few things before taking a step forward.
Were They Obliged?
Before you force them with a lawyer, make sure the company is obliged to pay for those benefits. Certain terms and conditions must be fulfilled before you can apply for worker’s compensation. For example, you must be a permanent employee to be eligible for most employee rights.
Is There a Mistake?
There is a possibility that the company or your employer might be trying to help you, but some sort of error may be getting in the way. You wouldn’t want to damage their goodwill and your relation with them by hiring a lawyer too soon. See what’s causing the issue and if, by any chance, you are at the wrong. Only after you are sure that your compensation is deliberately being held, should you go to a lawyer.
Have You Asked HR?
The HR department is there to ensure employees don’t have any problem and that they are performing well. You can go to them with any problem you might be facing at work, including denial or delay of workers’ compensation. Ask them to help sort this issue and let them know what your next step would be. You should try to submit a request in writing so it’s in the record and make sure it’s in humble tone and language. This could later be used as proof that you followed the complete professional procedure before acquiring outside help.
Will You be Able to Survive?
Though it’s your right, no company nor its employees like a person who acquired a lawyer against them. You will get your due right but may become subject to bullying and discrimination. The employer could make your path to promotions and increments difficult. It’s an important thing to consider if it will change your work life, and if it does, will you be able to survive with it.
How It Will Affect Your Career?
You wouldn’t be the first choice of any employer who knows you sued your last company. Hiring a lawyer against your employer may not be considered an issue or it could spread a negative word about you in the market – both are possibilities. Be sure to think if and how it could affect your career.
When to Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney
Knowing when to lawyer up is just as important as deciding if you should get a lawyer. One gets professional legal help only after things have gotten serious. Doing it for unnecessary reasons could sabotage image and network. Here I’ve shared when you should get professional help for worker’s compensation.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if a greedy employer or insurance company denied your claim. They know that not every employee will go as far as getting legal help and they take advantage of it. You should acquire the services of an attorney without hesitation in this case. Workers’ compensation attorney charges you fees only after getting you a fair settlement.
Settlement is Inadequate
The employer or the insurance company may under-calculate your compensation to get you off their backs. You should get proper treatment from the doctor, follow all his instructions, and keep everything in writing. Worker’s compensation is not charity; it’s your right. If you have asked and they are not paying a fair amount, then only an attorney can make them change their mind. Such are most commonly faced by insurance companies, and you may be required to prove that you actually needed medical attention.
As we have discussed above, you may have to face a changed behavior and discrimination by your employer if you get the help of an attorney. The employer might also be offended by the fact that you are asking for your right with or without a lawyer. If you feel that you became subject to discrimination just because you asked for workers’ compensation, you should protect your legal rights.