Ideally, a work injury would result in you getting perfectly adequate compensation with minimal fuss. Your employer would take on the liability and move on, making sure all the while that you’re well cared for.
Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way. Companies do all that they can to keep their expenses down, and there could be some friction against their employees as a result. In like manner, it doesn’t do for employees to try to take full advantage of their employers, so there has to be some push-and-pull in place.
Settlement negotiations help make sure both parties are treated fairly when it comes to workers’ compensation. That said, Illinois law does favor the employee in most cases, but that only comes into play if you have adequate representation.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys and Negotiations
By and large, injured employees will receive more for their workplace injuries when they have an attorney than when they do not. The reason for this is while there are set expenses and amounts that should be covered by workers’ compensation, the insurance adjuster will usually try to apply only those they absolutely have to. If they can get away without covering a particular expense, they will often try to do so.
At times, the insurance company will try to investigate your case to see whether you’re truly as badly injured as you say you are. In these situations, you need an attorney to guide you through the process and represent you during settlement negotiations. There may be items the insurance company will ask you to do that you don’t technically have to, and your attorney will let you know exactly what your rights are in those cases.
Workers’ Comp Negotiation Process
Your lawyer begins the process by gathering evidence to help support your claim. This step is vital because it outlines exactly what expenses the insurance company will need to cover. Evidence typically includes:
- Medical records, including bills and doctors’ reports
- Reports from medical examinations
- Depositions of medical experts
- Testimony from a vocational expert regarding your job’s requirements
- History of your employer’s workplace safety (or lack thereof)
- Statements from friends or family
From there, they’ll get an estimate together of how much your case is worth, and with that information and the abovementioned evidence, they’ll begin negotiations with your employer’s insurance company.
During the negotiation process, your lawyer will handle communication with the insurance company. They’ll provide the information the adjuster needs in order determine a fair settlement while at the same time putting pressure on them to make sure they don’t shortchange you.
All the while, you’ll get communication from your lawyer about how the process is going and what settlement offers your employer’s insurance company makes.
The representation of your lawyer cannot be understated here. Insurance companies frequently use various tactics to try to get a lower settlement amount, but an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to see straight through those. As such, if you are seeking workers’ comp benefits, you need an attorney on your side. Hart David Carson LLP represents Illinois workers who have been injured on the job, so contact us to review your case.