If you've suffered an injury at work, you will greatly benefit from hiring a workers' compensation attorney. Navigating the complicated legal process is quite tricky and you'll likely become confused, frustrated and depressed along the way if you attempt to represent yourself at hearings. Aside from providing representation at hearings, an attorney will also counsel you on legal strategies that will ensure that you receive the best possible compensation. The First Step When you are injured at work, immediately document the circumstances of the injury and give notice to your supervisor of what happened. Write down all of the details including the time and date of the injury, how it happened, where it happened and if any witnesses were present. Always present the information to a member of the human resources department and fill out any necessary forms that they require. What to Do Next Once you've documented the injury, the next step is to hire an attorney. Even if you caused the accident yourself, you are still entitled to compensation as the injury happened while you were at work. Obtaining the ideal compensation is a challenging process that will be facilitated with the help of an attorney with years of workers' compensation law experience. An attorney will guarantee that you receive the most possible financial compensation, paid time away from work and medical treatment. Aside from representing you at workers' compensation hearings, an attorney will also educate you about your rights, your eligibility for temporary disability benefits, commonly used workers' compensation terms, workers' compensation laws and procedures. There's also the chance that you are eligible for even more compensation by way of a Third Party Action. You need an experienced workers' compensation attorney by your side to make sure that you maximize your understanding of the legal process and receive the most possible compensation. The IME A workers' compensation attorney will ensure that you undergo an unbiased independent medical examination (IME) that presents your injury to a workers' compensation judge in a truthful manner. An attorney will work on your behalf to make sure that an honest physician conducts your IME and writes a legitimate report that ties your injury to the workplace activity. A workers' compensation attorney is aware of the reputations of local doctors and he'll do his best to ensure that a fair and unbiased doctor conducts your IME. The opinions of the doctor conducting the IME go a long way in determining the amount of your indemnity (money) payments, paid time off from work, medical devices and medical treatment you will receive. The doctor's opinion regarding your injured body site's schedule loss of use percentage will be the main determinant of the amount and length your indemnity payments. The attorney will also be able to deconstruct the IME's language to provide evidence of your injury as well as its significance. If the doctor's IME report is ambiguous, the attorney will identify the ambiguity and ask for a clarification. An Unparalleled Resource If a workers' compensation judge decides that your injury is not causally related to your workplace activities, you'll benefit from having an attorney to appeal the decision. This way the door for future compensation will remain open until you get a truly fair shake. Also, keep in mind the intimidation factor of an attorney. Correspondence sent on attorney letterhead along with "Esq." after his signature will be taken much more seriously by opposing counsel, employers and workers' compensation judges. "Pro Se" claimants, or those who represent themselves, don't carry the same weight as an individual with years of industry experience and a professional training and knowledge of the law. If you've been injured at work call the experienced workers compensations attorneys at Edwards and Kautz. We will review your case for free and make sure you get the care and compensation you need to recover. The call is FREE and there is NO FEE unless we win.