I have served as a workers’ compensation attorney for over 15 years. I do not represent employers or workers’ compensation insurance companies. I only represent and help injured workers.
Many people do not know what a workers’ compensation attorney that represents injured workers does. The information they do have about workers’ compensation attorneys comes from television commercials or other advertisements.
The information in advertisements can be very deceiving. This article is an attempt to pull back the curtain and give some real insight into what I and other workers’ compensation attorneys do.
Provide guidance and advice to our clients
My most important job is advising my clients. From the moment they contact me for a consultation until the very end of their case, I believe that I give them advice. I use my legal training and experience to help them make difficult choices.
Injured workers have many different choices to make. All of these choices affect their recovery from their injury.
- Should they choose this doctor or that doctor off the panel of physicians?
- Should they have surgery or not?
- Should they go to court or settle their case?
These are just a few of the choices they have to make. I want my clients to have all the information they need to make the best possible decisions. Sometimes, the choice is purely a legal question like should I file an appeal. Other times, the choice is not a legal issue like when my clients need to decide whether they are going to have surgery or not.
I advise my clients about what I know. When an area is outside of my expertise, I try to direct them to good experts to provide advice.
For example, I would direct a client with questions about whether to have surgery to ask the doctor who is a trained medical expert. However, I would also try to provide that client with some guidance of what questions and concerns they should discuss with the doctor.
My clients are the decision makers. It is their case and their life. It is my job to give good advice to them. Once I do that, I then do everything I can to help them get the best results from the choices they make.
Fight for our clients in court
Certainly, this is one of my most important roles. Being a workers’ compensation attorney allows me to request hearings and take insurance companies to court when they do not providing the workers’ compensation benefits my clients should receive.
Going to court involves more than just the actual trial of the case. Here are a few of the things that I and other workers’ compensation attorneys do to get to court:
- I prepare Form WC-14s to request hearings.
- I send and answer written discovery
- I file motions
- I prepare my clients for their deposition and take other depositions
- I develop the medical and other evidence necessary to prove my client’s case
- I prepare with witnesses before the hearing
Many workers’ compensation cases do not ever go to court. But going to court is one of the most important rights you have. A judge can make the insurance company follow the law when they are refusing to do so voluntarily.
Interact with doctors, adjuster, attorneys, and other to get our clients the medical treatment they need
Going to court is a very important right. But there are some situations where it is much better to get benefits without going to court. A workers’ compensation attorney needs to have the skills to work with adjusters, other attorneys, and doctors to get things done.
The main reason this skill is important is that it takes a long time to go to court and get a decision. Waiting for benefits is very difficult for my clients. If the same result can be accomplished without going to court, that really benefits my clients.
So, I work with doctors, adjuster and other attorneys to get my clients their benefits. Unfortunately, Georgia does not have a very good workers’ compensation medical system currently. Much of my time is spent getting my clients the medical treatment they need.
Sometimes, the information just has to be provided to the adjuster or the doctor’s office in a certain format. Other times, it requires persuasion. As an attorney who specializes in Georgia workers’ compensation law, I can often provide the information that is needed to get benefits paid without going to court.
Counsel our clients
Dealing with a serious injury is very difficult. There are many stressors:
- You have to deal with the pain from the injury.
- You have to deal with financial stress since workers’ compensation only pays you two-thirds or less of what you used to make.
- You will probably deal with at least some anxiety or depression from being unable to work and potentially ending up with permanent limitations on what you can do
- You have to deal with Georgia’s workers’ compensation law which is stacked against you in many ways
I do what I can to help my clients with these stressors. Unfortunately though, there are some things I cannot change. There are times after a serious injury where the best doctors cannot get you completely well.
In these situations, I am a counselor to my clients. I hear what they have to say and empathize with them. I would rather tell someone a difficult truth than tell them everything is going to be great if it is really not.
Of course, I also work as hard as I can to fight for my clients to make everything as good as it can be.
I hope this little bit of insight into some of the things that a workers’ compensation attorney does has been interesting and informative. If you have any questions, please reach out to me and let me know.
Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers. He regularly blogs about Georgia’s workers’ compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.
You can subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation channel on YouTube.