Suffering an injury in an accident on the job could mean the end of your career and your ability to work for a living. This is when you’ll need skilled legal assistance to fight for the full financial assistance you deserve from insurance and/or the parties responsible for your injuries.
At Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., our Brownsville workplace accident attorneys help injured employees seek workers’ compensation benefits or other financial assistance for their losses. We have more than 100 years of combined legal experience and are dedicated to assisting Brownsville and Cameron County workers who turn to us after serious occupational accidents and injuries.
How would you know who to turn to for help if you were suffering from a job-site injury that put you out of work? Your bills and daily needs won’t wait. Workers’ compensation benefits may pay for your medical care and replace two-thirds of your weekly wages. In some situations, you may be entitled to seek recovery through a personal injury claim. How do you know who’s best suited to help you?
It’s important to understand the steps to take and mistakes to avoid when hiring a workers’ compensation attorney in Brownsville. Below we discuss some issues to keep in mind. If you’d like to discuss your legal options after a workplace accident, phone us at (361) 882-4357 in Brownsville or reach out online to set up a free initial consultation.
4 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring A Workers’ Comp Lawyer In Brownsville
Here are four mistakes you can avoid when searching for an attorney to help you with a workers’ compensation claim in south Texas.
1. Avoid working with a lawyer who has limited experience with workplace injury cases.
First, you need to make sure you are dealing with an attorney who knows Texas workers’ compensation law. Unlike other states, Texas gives private-sector employers the option of whether to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Many employers have workers’ compensation insurance, but some do not.
It’s possible that your employer may not have workers’ compensation insurance. A 2019 study by the Texas Department of Insurance said the portion of employers with workers’ comp insurance fell from 78 percent in 2016 to 72 percent in 2018, the two years with the highest subscription rates since 1993.
You might be covered by workers’ compensation. The Department of Insurance study says 82 percent of private-sector employees in Texas are covered. But among employers that do not have workers’ comp, only 64 percent of employees are covered by alternative plans that pay medical or wage benefits to injured employees.
You may need to file a personal injury claim against your employer or others to seek financial assistance for injuries and losses caused by a work accident.
You need an experienced Texas attorney who understands that you have a work injury claim. There may be multiple paths to obtain the compensation you are due. When you first talk to an attorney, he or she should speak more broadly about workplace injury claims in Texas than just about filing for workers’ compensation.
2. Don’t make the mistake of not properly researching your workplace injury/workers’ comp lawyer options.
You have many choices of legal help in South Texas. Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. was established in 1992 and our attorneys have successfully resolved more than 20,000 injury claims.
Search for “workers comp lawyer Brownsville” and “workplace injury attorney Brownsville” online and read a few law firms’ web pages. (Remember, the sites marked “Ad” pay to be up top in search results.) See whether they clearly explain how they can help you. See whether they seem to understand what has happened to you and what hurdles you face. See whether they can offer you testimonials from satisfied clients on their websites.
Contact people you know who have been injured on the job to ask whether they hired an attorney. If you have used an attorney in the past for something else, ask him or her for a referral to a workers’ comp attorney.
Once you have three or four likely candidates, set up some initial consultations, and meet some lawyers.
3. Don’t fail to take use the free initial consultation.
Most lawyers offer a free consultation to give you the opportunity to determine whether he or she is the right legal professional for you and your needs. It is a chance to hear from them how they see your case moving forward.
Prepare for the meeting by thinking through the best way to summarize how and when you were injured, including whatever witnesses or documentation of the accident may exist, and your injury diagnosis.
Ask the lawyer about their experience handling workplace injury cases, how many cases similar to yours they have handled and what outcomes they have achieved. Ask them to outline how they would pursue compensation for you and how long a claim should take.
Ask what will be expected of you. Some firms will handle everything they can when pursuing a claim, but some do less. Regardless, you will likely need to sign forms and be available for questioning by the opposing side if there is a lawsuit.
And, of course, ask about the fees. For a work injury claim, you should be told that you will pay nothing up front and any legal fees will come out of money your attorneys recover for you. If they are not successful, you should not be charged a legal fee.
4. Avoid failing to follow workers’ comp rules and your doctor’s orders.
Once you have a workers’ comp lawyer, you need to do your part to keep the case on track. Insurers and lawyers for the other side will look for any reason to deny your claim, such as any evidence that you are not as badly injured as you say.
You need to make sure you have properly reported your injury to your employer in writing, including when and how it happened, and that you’ve requested workers’ compensation benefits. You need to see a doctor and follow all of his or her instructions for treatment. Your employer’s workers’ comp insurer may require you to see a doctor your employer chooses. If so, go to every appointment. Failing to keep follow-up appointments can be grounds for dismissing your workers’ comp claim or discontinuing your benefits. Tell any doctor you see about how your injury has affected your life.
Let your attorney know how you were hurt and how your recovery is going. At some point, your employer may insist on you returning to work as a condition of your workers’ comp benefits continuing. If you are not ready, your attorney can help you.
There are many ways an experienced South Texas workers’ compensation attorney can help you after a work injury in Brownsville. Please feel free to contact Herrman & Herrman in Brownsville to learn more about how we may assist you.