The short answer to this question is a resounding no!
Rarely, is it advisable to wait until the insurance company makes an offer before deciding to consult a lawyer. In fact, it's rarely a good idea to wait until the insurance company is ready to settle your claim before consulting one.
Why You Shouldn't Wait to Contact a Lawyer
Why don't we advise waiting? Because the clock begins to run out on your claim the moment you're injured.
You only have 30 days to file
- Notify your employer of the injury in writing as soon as possible within that 30-day window.
- Notify your employer orally if you can. (Oral notification is not required, but it's in your best interest.)
- File a claim with the NC Industrial Commission within 30 days of your injury.
Many crucial decisions will need to be made and necessary paperwork properly filed early on. If not done promptly and properly, it could hinder your chance to receive all the benefits you may be entitled to under the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act - including medical care and wages. The process can be highly bureaucratic and can trip up even the most diligent filers.
Because our attorneys work on a contingency basis (you don't pay us an attorney's fee unless we recover money for you), the cost is the same whether you hire an attorney from the get go or later in the process. An attorney can potentially get more done on your behalf in less time because we navigate this process daily, we have the paperwork at our disposal, we have relationships with most insurance companies, and with the Industrial Commission, if there's an issue needing immediate attention.
Mistakes Often Made Without an Attorney
Injured workers may mistakenly believe that the insurance company and their employer will take all necessary steps to ensure their claim for benefits is properly managed in a timely fashion. We've seen otherwise.
Be forewarned: Delay by the injured worker, the employer, or the insurance company, can quickly sabotage a workers' compensation claim. This could potentially result in even greater compensation losses, and possibly a longer road to recovery.
Once an injury is reported, the insurance company may rush you to give them a recorded statement. What you say may be turned around, misconstrued, taken out of context, and could potentially be used against you. Your own words may even cause your claim to be denied. When you're talking to an insurance adjuster you are talking to someone who has a better understanding than you of the ins and outs of the workers' compensation process.
The insurance company may offer you money to settle your case at any point during the process. What we've found is that some insurance companies may offer as little money as possible as soon as possible so they can close your case. They know that your wage-earning capacity has been affected and that you need to pay your mortgage, rent, utilities, car payment, etc., so you may be more inclined to take their offer. Once your case is closed - they're off the hook for further reimbursement. That's just good business in their world.
4 Ways a Worker's Compensation Lawyer Can Help You
At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, more than half our workers' compensation attorneys are North Carolina Board Certified Specialists in workers' compensation law. Fewer than 1%*of the 28,000 attorneys in North Carolina are NC board certified workers' compensation attorneys. We can help:
- Even the playing field. Our experienced workers' compensation team deals with insurance companies, employers, the Industrial Commission, medical personnel, and all the players in between, day in and day out.
- Prepare to give a recorded statement to the insurance company. How you state your answers to their questions - although truthful - can potentially help or hurt your claim. Depending on the type of injury, some may not even manifest until days or weeks later. If you give a statement too soon, that injury may not get recorded.
- Try to make sure you have received all necessary treatment. Trying to get you all the treatment necessary helps ensure we've left no stone unturned toward your recovery. After all, if your case has settled, and you find out two months later that those headaches were the result of a mild concussion from your injury, you will not be reimbursed for additional treatment.
- Evaluate the insurance company's offer to make sure it is reasonable and fair. Experience has taught us that when the insurance companies make offers, they are not always reasonable - or fair. We've negotiated enough claims for our clients to know what is best in each unique situation.
2016 U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms"
The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin received the 2016 U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" Tier 1 ranking (the highest ranking) for Workers' Compensation in the greater Raleigh area**. This achievement came from nearly 700,000 law firm assessments and more than 47,000 client evaluations.
Give us a call at 1-866-900-7078 and let one of our workers' comp attorneys - evaluate your situation for free.
* Statistics from North Carolina State Bar, through December 31, 2015
** Visit www.bestlawfirms.usnews.com for more information about criteria for inclusion