When most of my clients come to me they have never had a workers' comp claim before. Very often they call me after having already had a hearing and coming out of it very confused. Ohio Workers’ Compensation is difficult to understand for most lawyers let alone for the average person. One of the most common questions I get is “Do I need to hire a lawyer?” The answer varies from case to case, but the usual answer is yes.
If your injury at work was very minor and you had one visit to the E.R. with no lasting problems, you can probably get by without hiring an attorney. Even in these cases your employer may contest your claim and you can find yourself at a hearing. In almost every other case you will benefit from having a lawyer fighting for you.
There have been many times while waiting at the Industrial Commission for my next hearing to be called, I have seen an injured worker walking out of the hearing before me with their head spinning and a confused look on their face. When the employer has an attorney or a workers’ comp management company involved, they can raise issues you are not familiar with and your claim can be denied for technical reasons you may not have been aware even existed. If certain issues are decided against you and no appeal is filed, it can result in your claim being severely damaged or denied completely. Often these problems can be addressed and fixed by a lawyer prior to the hearing taking place.
Nearly all employers will have a representative at your hearing. There job is to keep costs to the employer low. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will assign you a claim representative. This person is not a lawyer and does not work for you but works directly for the BWC. Your lawyer will be the only person involved in your case whose job is to look out for you.
Many people are afraid to contact a lawyer because they are worried about fees. I offer a free initial consultation. My fee is also contingent on winning your case and getting you a money award. I do not charge you for getting your medical bills paid. You have probably heard “I don’t get paid, unless you get paid.” For this reason, there is no down side to getting me involved in your claim sooner rather than later. There is no additional fee if I am working on your case at the beginning rather than later. By being involved at the outset of your claim, I can anticipate problems ahead of time and work to eliminate them.
For these reasons it is much more often than not a good idea for you to contact a workers' compensation attorney if you have a workers’ comp claim. Your employer and the BWC have attorneys working for them. You should too.