What can happen if I don’t hire a workers’ comp lawyer?

In the past few months several people have come to me who had no idea they weren’t receiving workers’ comp benefits they were entitled to.  When a person is injured at work and the insurance company begins adjusting the claim, it’s easy to assume the insurance company is doing what it is required to do.  Unfortunately, insurance adjusters frequently make mistakes or simply don’t do their jobs.  Without a Vermont workers comp lawyer, you may never find out you were missing out on important Vermont workers’ compensation benefits.  Some examples:

  • A client recently came to me because the insurance company hadn’t paid him for the first few weeks he was out of work.  When I looked into the insurance company’s calculations, I determined the insurance company was sending my client TTD checks which were $200 less per week than they were supposed to be.  The insurance company had made a mistake when it calculated my client’s average weekly wage, and my client had been underpaid more than $6,500 in the 6+ months he had been out of work!  This is the third or fourth time I’ve seen that happen in the past two years.  If my client hadn’t called a workers comp lawyer, he probably would not have found out.
Another client recently came to me because she’d been waiting six months for an MRI, but was getting no response from the adjuster or her doctors about why it wasn’t being scheduled.  What she didn’t know is her doctor had requested preauthorization several months earlier, but the insurance company was simply ignoring it.  She also didn’t know the insurance company was required to respond to the preauthorization request within a specific amount of time, or else it would automatically be approved.  Soon after hiring a workers comp lawyer, the MRI was approved and the surgery she needed had been scheduled.

Yet another client recently came to me with a Vermont workers’ comp claim that had been stagnant for more than two years.  She hadn’t miss any time from work, and her medical treatment only lasted six months, so the insurance company wasn’t motivated to move her claim forward.  Instead, the insurance company stopped returning her calls, and made no effort to inquire whether my client had any permanent impairment.  If my client hadn’t called a workers comp lawyer, the insurance company never would have told her she was entitled to PPD benefits for her permanent injury.

Still another client came to me having been out of work for the past 14 months, with no indication he would be able to return to his previous job.  What he didn’t know is the insurance company was supposed to refer him for vocational rehabilitation counseling after he’d been out of work for 90 days.  If my client hadn’t called a workers comp lawyer, his prospects of finding new work despite being unable to return to his old job would be very dim.  Now he has a VR counselor to help  evaluate his options and arrange retraining for him if he can’t find work.

These are just some recent examples of what can happen if you don’t hire a Vermont workers comp lawyer to help with your claim.  You’re automatically entitled to a variety of workers’ comp benefits when you’re injured in Vermont, but it takes someone who is experienced with all of those benefits — and how they are properly calculated — to identify whether you’re getting everything you’re entitled to.  Without a Vermont workers comp lawyer, you could be unpaid, underpaid, or prevented from taking advantage of everything available to you — and you may never realize it.