Do You Need a Lawyer to Get a Workers’ Comp Settlement in Georgia?
An injured worker asks if he should file a Georgia workers' compensation claim.

If you’ve suffered an on-the-job injury and think you may need to file a workers’ compensation claim, you may be wondering whether or not you should hire a lawyer. While filing a workers’ comp claim can feel overwhelming, the decision to hire a qualified attorney doesn’t have to be.

In this blog post, Gregory Smith Law, LLC, examines some of the most common concerns we hear from injured workers in Georgia who are considering hiring an Augusta, GA workers’ comp lawyer and whether it could be the right choice for you.

Common Reasons You May Need a Lawyer for Your GA Workers’ Comp Case

There are many reasons Georgia employees who are injured on the job choose to work with a lawyer for their workers’ compensation claims. If any of the following applies to your situation, you may want to hire a workers’ comp attorney:

  • You sustained moderate to severe injuries on the job, and your attending physician believes you will likely be temporarily or permanently disabled as a result.
  • You were injured severely enough to require surgical treatment.
  • You suspect that you will not be able to go back to work at your current job in any capacity due to your physical condition.
  • You suspect that you may no longer be able to maintain regular work hours at your current job or in any other position.
  • You had significant pre-existing disabilities prior to your workplace injury.
  • You experience delayed benefit payments or believe that you may not be receiving the correct benefit amounts that should be available for your claim.
  • Your employer or their workers’ comp insurance provider disputed your claim, accused you of fraud, or denied you coverage.
  • The treating physician quickly cleared you for work but you are concerned that you have not actually healed
  • Your employer or their workers’ comp insurance provider requested that you undergo an Independent Medical Exam
  • You feel uncertain about the workers’ comp claim process and would like the assistance of a knowledgeable professional.

Is a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Necessary?

You have the right to hire an attorney to represent you. However, there are certain situations in which working with an attorney may not be necessary.

You may not need to hire a lawyer for your Georgia workers’ comp claim if all of the following apply:

  • The workplace injuries you sustained were minor.
  • You anticipate a speedy recovery lasting only days or weeks.
  • You expect to return to the same position with your current employer after you have the chance to recover.
  • You do not believe your workplace injury will result in the long-term or permanent loss of any physical abilities or bodily functions.
  • You expect no issues or disputes about your workers’ comp claim and feel comfortable signing a settlement agreement with your employer’s insurance company drafted by their lawyer.

Keep in mind that any settlement agreement you sign will require you to waive your right to file for additional income benefits or medical treatment if you need them in the future. Therefore, it’s important to consider your decision carefully. An experienced Georgia workers’ compensation attorney can bring you clarity and peace of mind as you navigate the workers’ comp claim process. Additionally, you may be at a significant disadvantage without a knowledgeable workers’ comp attorney if any complications arise.

What Does a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Do?

Without a workers’ comp lawyer, the fate of your claim rests entirely on your employer, their insurance provider, and your own understanding of relevant legal processes. When you hire a workers’ comp attorney to represent you, they can help you by:

  • Explaining your options and the steps you need to take to file a claim
  • Collecting evidence of your work-related injury or condition to support your claim
  • Assisting you with the administrative aspects of filing your claim
  • Taking appropriate legal action if your claim is delayed or denied
  • Estimating the value of your claim and evaluating any settlement offers

What Do Workers’ Comp Attorneys Charge?

Many injured workers believe that they could never have the means to afford an attorney, especially when they are hurt and unable to work. However, this is simply untrue.

The workers’ comp lawyers at Gregory Smith Law, LLC, understand that you may be in a tight spot and are likely concerned about your finances. That’s why we work on a contingency-fee basis, which means that we will only charge legal fees if we recover compensation for you. We will fight aggressively for your rights and the full compensation you deserve, regardless of your ability to pay.

We also offer free case evaluations to all potential clients. There’s no risk to you when you contact us for an initial consultation. We want what’s best for you. We’re here to help you learn more about the strength and potential value of your case before you commit to any big decisions.

How Much Will I Have to Pay and When?

Georgia law imposes strict limits on the amount that lawyers can charge in legal fees for their clients in workers’ comp cases. The most you will ever have to pay is 25 percent of the settlement or weekly benefit amount we recover on your behalf.

As for when you could owe a percentage of the compensation we may win for your case, there are only three situations in which you would ever pay us a fee:

  • We win benefits for you after your claim was denied.
  • We prevent your employer from successfully stopping your benefit payments.
  • We help you win a lump sum of compensation after you choose to settle your case.

How to Start the Process of Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim in Georgia

Your first step to file a workers’ comp claim is to report your injury to your employer. Then, complete the necessary paperwork for your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. From there, the process can become complicated quickly, so it’s a good idea to speak with a knowledgeable workers’ comp lawyer as soon as possible. If you’re considering filing for workers compensation benefits in Georgia Contact Gregory Smith Law, LLC, to get personalized recommendations for your claim.

About the Author

Gregory Smith
Gregory founded Gregory Smith Law, LLC in his hometown of Augusta in 1993. Since that time, he has focused his practice exclusively on representing injured workers and their families after serious on-the-job accidents in Augusta and throughout Georgia. Gregory earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from Augusta College and law degree from Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law in Macon. He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, Augusta Bar Association, and the Georgia Injured Workers’ Advocates, an organization dedicated to protecting the rights of injured and ill workers in the Peach State. When he’s not in the office, Gregory enjoys bicycling, fishing, and spending time with his wife and three children.