If you’ve suffered an injury at work and chosen to file your claim without the assistance of a worker’s comp attorney, you may want to retrace your steps after you read some statistics.
As we all know, dollars for wage workers in the United States are becoming scarcer every minute. And, justifiably or not, employment insurance providers are scrimping and saving, too — at the expense of the wage workers who depend on them. A 2006 report by a worker’s compensation and research group spells out the ugly truth. All over the country, the number of worker’s comp claims being denied or disputed upon the first filing has been growing since the late ’90s.
Interestingly, the disparity between claims and denials is growing the fastest here in the western states. Also, the claims being denied most often are those that historically have been the most common: hand and wrist nerve compression injuries, lower back nerve compression injuries and neck soft tissue injuries. Is this a reasonable correlation? Or are corporations cutting back the most where medical and wage compensation is
needed the most and, consequently, offers the largest potential for reducing costs?
In 2007, injured Colorado workers who received a worker’s comp settlement after filing pro se, which means “advocating on one’s own behalf before a court, rather than being represented by a worker’s comp attorney” averaged settlement winnings of approximately $15,000. Hurt Colorado workers who elected to file their claim with representation by a Colorado worker’s comp attorney averaged settlement winnings of nearly $37,000 each. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment provides that statistic freely at the link above.
Additionally, as if to push Colorado wage workers towards the best case scenario after their work accident, the Department of Labor and Employment website also shares this Power Point presentation about seeking a settlement pro se in lieu of hiring an attorney. In a nutshell, by handling your claim without a Colorado worker’s comp attorney, you could be giving up quite a lot. For example, an experienced attorney can give you important advice before you accept a settlement. Without that advice, you may:
- Give up your right to take any future benefits dispute before a worker’s compensation judge.
- Forfeit your right to request a larger amount of benefits in the future.
- Agree to pay all future work injury-related medical bills out of your own pocket.
Worker’s comp regulations are complicated. Medical issues are complicated. Don’t make your future more complicated than it needs to be. If you’re hurt on the job and need to file an accident claim, get the advice of a worker’s comp attorney before you agree to any kind of settlement.