Mishaps and different accidents at work can be pretty common. The usual examples are: a fall from the stairs, a broken arm from mishandling of equipment, back pain and injury from lifting heavy objects, dismembered arms and limbs from equipment malfunction (Common in the industrial field), or carpal tunnel syndrome because of years of typing from office workloads. An accident attorney is in charge of the employee’s compensation who had an injury at work or because of their work’s nature. They can help workers get the right compensation they deserve to recover and from medical expenses, lifelong therapy, and lost wages because of the injury they acquired. In this article, we will talk about everything you need to know about phoenix workers compensation lawyers.
Worker’s Benefits and The Law
The worker’s compensation law allows an employee who is hurt while doing their job to get various benefits and compensations. This all depends on the severity of the injury and its impact on their lives in the long run. These can include the points below:
- Medical coverage and benefits.
- Perpetual total disability benefit.
- Temporary partial-disability benefit.
- Reimbursement of wage benefit.
- Rehabilitation and vocational benefit.
- Therapy benefit.
The Employee Compensation Law
The Employee Compensation Law is governed by state legislative together with federal statutes. They both provide a fixed award to the employees and their declared dependents in any event or work-related injuries, accidents, and illness.
These statutorily-prescribed awards enable the injured worker to receive compensation without initiating legal action against an employer. The various state acts differ concerning the type of workers covered, the amount and duration of benefits, and other details.
Federal employees are covered by several laws, including the Federal Employees Compensation Act, the Jones Act for seamen, and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act for longshore and harbor workers.
The effect of most workers’ comp laws is to make the employer strictly liable for injuries sustained in the course of employment, without regard to the negligence of the employer or the employee. The injury must arise in the course and scope of employment to give rise to a valid claim, and an employee-employer relationship must exist.
Independent contractors are not covered under most workers’ compensation laws.
Specific Claimant Attorney Duties
Workers’ compensation lawyers on the claimant side must have a working comprehension of the claims filing process, as well as compassion for the injured party’s plight. An attorney representing the claimant will typically:
- Answer clients’ questions and guide them through the workers’ comp process.
- Contact medical providers and complete paperwork relating to the claim.
- Represent the claimant’s interests at hearings, trials, depositions, oral arguments, mediations, arbitrations, and other proceedings.
- Assist the injured worker with benefits, including appropriate medical care.
- Communicate with the worker’s supervisors on the injured worker’s status.
- Negotiate settlements on behalf of the claimant.
A top-level claimant’s attorney should have superior negotiation skills based on an accurate assessment of what the case is honestly worth—no pipe dreams or inflated figures.
The attorney will be able to recognize when a “final offer” really isn’t quite final.
Precise Defense Attorney Duties
On the defense side, attorneys help insurance companies or self-insured employers mitigate their exposure and defend against workers’ comp claims.
They must understand the claims-handling guidelines for each business unit they work with and budget costs, and calculate exposure. They must know billing procedures. Attorneys on the defense side will:
- Represent the employer or insurer’s interests at hearings, trials, depositions, oral arguments, mediations, arbitrations, and other proceedings.
- Communicate with claims representatives.
- Monitor loss run reports for trends and increases, and alert management to concerns.
- Assist with the investigation of accidents and problem areas.
- Manage workers’ compensation costs.
- Compile and submit reports required by company management.
- Coordinate and attend claims reviews.
- Negotiate settlements on behalf of the insurance company.
An Attorney’s Task and Responsibility
The ultimate goal of a workers’ compensation attorney representing the claimant—the injured worker—is to help that individual obtain benefits.
The goal of the workers’ comp lawyer representing the defendant, which would be the employer or the employer’s insurance company, is to mitigate the defendant’s liability.
Typical job functions of Phoenix Workers Compensation Lawyers includes but are not limited to:
- Gathering medical evidence and medical records
- Taking depositions of the claimant, physicians, medical experts, and other parties
- Conducting discovery
- Performing legal research
- Remaining current with developments in the law
- Drafting pleadings, findings of fact, motions, briefs, opinions, and other legal documents
- Litigating cases before a judge or referee
A lack of concrete and comprehensive medical evidence is one of the primary reasons workers’ comp claims fail, and it’s a critical responsibility of an attorney to prevent this.
Skills and Knowledge
Other capabilities and knowledge are required to excel as a workers’ compensation attorney in addition to these essential legal skills. They include:
- Litigation experience and strong trial experience
- Working knowledge of workers’ compensation laws and procedures
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Strong research and analytical skills
- Ability to handle large caseloads and juggle multiple priorities and deadlines
- Excellent negotiation skills
- Ability to work independently as well as in a team environment
- Strong technology skills, including proficiency with Microsoft Office software and legal research platforms, such as Lexis and Westlaw
- Understanding of medical, scientific, construction, products, engineering, and similar issues inherent in workers comp cases
Education Required for Workers Compensation Attorney
Like all attorneys in the U.S., workers’ compensation lawyers must obtain an undergraduate degree, complete four years of law school, and obtain a license by passing the bar exam in the state where they want to practice..
Workers Compensation Attorney Compensation
Claimant attorneys rarely charge an hourly fee. It’s more customary to work on a contingency basis, collecting a percentage of any award received for a claimant, anywhere from 10% to 33%. Some state laws cap the percentage.
Defense attorneys are more likely to work for or be retained by insurance companies and employers.
Workers’ comp attorneys work in an office environment, often employed in a law firm or a corporate legal department. Frequent travel to hearings, arbitrations, depositions, and job sites can be required. The workload can require long working hours due to traveling to hearings and depositions in distant locations and preparing for hearings.
Jason M. Ferguson, the founder of Ferguson Law Group, started his career working for an automobile insurance company as a trial attorney before owning his injury law firm for over 20 years. Attorney Ferguson has a unique experience, having tried cases on both sides of the court system in personal injury trials, unlike many other lawyers. Mr. Ferguson also served over 14 years as an Army Reserve officer and the Georgia Air National Guard. The Albany Herald recognized him as one of southwest Georgia’s “40 under 40” in 2010.”About the Author- Jason M. Ferguson