An upwards of 24,000 employees are injured on the job in Lousiana each year. And that’s just the private sector. If you were injured while working, you have the right to file a workers’ comp case. You might be shocked at how long it can take to get the care you need and resolve your claim. What can you do if you need help now?
Keep reading to learn more about why workers comp cases take so long to settle and what you can do to speed up the process.
The Insurance Company Hopes You’ll Go Away
Many times when your insurance company is dragging their feet and not paying your benefits, it’s because they’re hoping you’ll go away. They think that if they don’t provide your benefits in a timely manner, you’ll quit or go back to work while you’re still injured. Insurance companies always protect their own interests.
If you find yourself in this situation, learning more about the system and hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer can help move your claim along. You should never give up on getting the benefits you deserve because an insurance company isn’t being fair.
Insurance adjusters are always looking for any reason to deny your claim. Part of the reason for this is the amount of fraud seen in workers’ comp cases.
Unfortunately, those who are dishonest and look for ways to defraud the system ruin it for workers who are genuinely injured and in need of benefits.
Insurance companies are also notoriously short-staffed. Claims adjusters handle hundreds of cases and your claim may sit for months without being reviewed.
As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Hiring an attorney can speed up the process by showing the insurance company that you won’t take no for an answer.
The Problem with the System
If you feel like your workers’ compensation case is taking forever you’re not alone. The problem often boils down to a system that is designed to work against you.
The workers’ compensation system is designed to cut costs wherever possible. This often prevents injured people from getting the care they need, even when a doctor prescribes it.
Insurance companies will often second guess the treatment recommended by your physician. This can lead to delays. If you’re permanently disabled because of the accident, your case can take even longer.
This is because of the level of investigation involved. Insurance companies will often dispute permanent disability cases and require workers to get a second opinion through a qualified medical examination (QME). If this doctor disagrees with your regular doctor, the parties must negotiate a settlement or wait for a hearing.
If you were injured and have suffered a prior injury to the same area or there were no witnesses to your accident, your case can be delayed even further. Your case can’t be settled until you are fully healed or have reached what is called maximum medical improvement (MMI), so the full extent of your injury can be determined.
Appealing Your Case
If your workers’ comp case is denied, you still have the option to file an appeal. Unfortunately, the appeals process takes time.
In Lousiana, you can appeal your benefits denial by filing a Disputed Claim for Compensation. By filing this form, you are requesting a hearing before a workers’ compensation judge.
If the insurance company is refusing to pay medical benefits, you will fill out a Disputed Claim for Medical Treatment form. If you decide to appeal your case, you need an experienced Lousinna workers’ compensation attorney. Your attorney will help you navigate this process, which often involves mediation or a formal hearing.
Your insurance company will hire a lawyer to represent them during this process. Hiring your own attorney will level the playing field and give you a fair shot at winning your case.
If your case is denied again, you can appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeal.
There are strict deadlines for filing these appeals. Your attorney will make sure your rights are protected and you never miss a deadline.
Workers’ comp lawyers usually work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t have to pay them upfront. You only pay them a percentage of the additional settlement they win for you.
Hiring an attorney affordable for injured workers.
What You Can do to Avoid Delays
While some causes of delays are beyond your control, there are some things you can do as a claimant to prevent additional delays.
The most important thing you can do is speak with a workers’ comp attorney. Lawyers who specialize in helping clients with workers’ compensation cases know the law and the system. They can help you avoid common pitfalls that can lead to delays.
The next most important thing that you can do is attend all of your medical appointments. Missing appointments can lead to delays and a denial. Workers’ comp cases rely on medical evidence. Attending your appointments is critical for building your case.
You also need to make sure you attend your deposition or any court hearings. Missing these legal proceedings can lead to your benefits being terminated and your case dismissed.
Always be honest with your doctor. Never exaggerate your symptoms or say anything that could lessen your credibility. Being dishonest can weaken your case and land you in hot water if you are suspected of committing fraud.
Being open and honest and working with an experienced attorney is the best way to make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to.
Do You Need Help With Your Workers’ Comp Case?
If you were injured in a workplace accident, you are entitled to benefits.
Is your insurance company delaying or denying you compensation?
Show the insurance company you’re serious by speaking with a workers’ comp attorney today. The consultation is free and there’s no obligation.
Click here to schedule your free case evaluation today and get your claim back on track.