A lot of people with a Vermont work injury assume they can handle their workers’ compensation claim themselves, and that they don’t need a Vermont workers’ comp lawyer. As I discussed in a previous post, it’s certainly true that there are workers’ compensation claims in which you might not need a lawyer. If you are going to hire a lawyer, however, there are a number of reasons why it is best not to wait until something goes wrong.
The primary reason to hire a Vermont workers’ comp lawyer early — even when your claim has been accepted — is that you actually get “more for your money” by doing so. The primary source of attorney fees for most workers’ compensation lawyers is 1/3 of any PPD benefits you become entitled to at the end of your claim — a process that can take months or even years. When the insurance company is paying you ongoing weekly TTD benefits (or you are able to continue working), I will guide you through the entire process from the start, and you don’t pay me while I am helping you, regardless of how long it takes. As a result, I will generally be paid the same amount — 1/3 of the PPD benefits you’re entitled to — whether you hire me at the beginning of your claim, in the middle after something goes wrong, or at the end of your claim.
Hiring a lawyer early in the process has other benefits as well. For one thing, a lawyer can help you avoid messing up your claim. Even if you are well-educated and feel comfortable handling the claim yourself, there are things that can occur which frustrate the process and/or jeopardize your ongoing entitlement to benefits. It can be very hard for even the best Vermont workers’ comp lawyer to fix certain mistakes often made by injured workers who haven’t hired a laywer. Similarly, an experienced lawyer can help you choose the best doctors to treat your particular injury, make sure your weekly TTD checks are the appropriate amount and are paid on time, and that you get a head-start on any vocational rehabilitation counseling you might be entitled to. And a Vermont workers’ compensation lawyer will also make sure your weekly TTD checks are terminated prematurely, and that your PPD benefits are the appropriate amount. Again, these are services that I provide to my clients throughout the life of their claim, and which you will miss out on if you only decide to hire a lawyer when you are approaching (or have reached) the end of your claim. Give me a call today!