Q: I was injured on the job and called a law firm I saw on TV about my on-the-job injury. They have not filed my case. Nothing is being done. What can I do?
Eugene, Florence, AL
A: The first thing you can do is make sure that your workers' compensation case is filed. It will have to be filed before you see a dime of settlement money. All workers' compensation settlements in Alabama have to be approved through the court system.
Our standard practice is to file every workers' compensation case we accept. That serves more than one purpose. First, most people who try to handle these cases on their own experience a series of adjusters. Every single change of adjuster creates a delay and often creates a different way of handling the case.
Second, without a judge overlooking the case, medical issues which often arise have no means of resolution. If a judge is already assigned to the case it is much faster to have common issues resolved.
Third, workers' compensation lawyers tend to be a lot more reasonable than adjusters as they answer to the court both as officers of the court and in maintaining their credibility with the court.
Fourth, as I’ve already stated, it’s going to have to be filed anyway.
I don’t think I would hire a lawyer who wouldn’t agree to file the workers' compensation case. I suppose that if you were receiving your weekly benefits and your employer was treating you the way they should, you might not even need a lawyer. There are certain types of workers' compensation cases where people are made fair offers. In those cases, people will bring the letters to our office and we will tell them at no charge whether we can add value to their case or not. If we can make them money, we will tell them. If we can’t, we will tell them that as well.
Buckle up, drive safely, and as always, your referrals are appreciated!