3 Things To Discuss With Your Workers Comp Attorney Before Filing For Benefits
If you have suffered an illness or injury at your place of employment, consider hiring workers compensation attorney services to determine if you are eligible for benefits. He or she will investigate your case; however, there are certain things you will need to discuss with him or her prior to filing your paperwork.
You may need to prove that your injury or illness was directly related to your place of employment before your benefits can begin. Here are three things to discuss with your workers compensation attorney and why they are so important:
Past Medical History
If you file a workers compensation claim because you were exposed to asbestos or harmful chemicals, you will need to prove that your illness was directly related to such exposures. You will need to provide your attorney with a complete list of your past and present medical conditions because if it is determined that your illness is pre-existing and unrelated to an exposure at work, you will not be eligible to receive wage replacement, medical costs, and ongoing health care costs.
If you already have a lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, bronchitis, or pulmonary scarring, it may be difficult to determine if your symptoms are the result of your work exposure or your pre-existing disease. Your workers compensation attorney with work with your physician, and perhaps other medical experts, to review your health records to determine the cause.
In addition to pre-existing medical conditions, your lifestyle choices may also play an important role in whether or not you are granted workers compensation benefits. For example, if you file a claim because of severe liver disease you state is related to a chemical exposure at work, and it is found that you have pre-existing liver disease because of viral hepatitis or chronic alcoholism, it may difficult to determine if your employer is responsible.
Your physician will need to establish a direct cause and effect relationship between your liver disease and workplace exposure. This will be very difficult, especially if your liver condition has been diagnosed years before your workers compensation claim. Similarly, if you have a history of heavy smoking and file a claim because you have breathing problems from exposure to lung irritants at work, it may be unclear if your illness was caused by smoking or the workplace environment.
While your workers compensation claim may be perfectly legitimate, too many claims with past employers may raise a red flag to those making the decision to award you your benefits. This is especially true if your past claims were denied for lack of proof. If, however, you were awarded benefits for all your past claims, then it will be determined that your claims were legitimate and that your level of credibility is high.
If you do not have all the paperwork from your past claims, your attorney can access them with a few phone calls or email correspondences. While most workers compensation attorneys will work with you despite your history of filing multiple claims with different employers, some may be hesitant to take on your case. When speaking with a workers compensation attorney during your initial phone consultation, be upfront and honest about your past claims.
If you have been injured or suffered an illness because of a workplace circumstance, contact a workers compensation attorney to determine if you are eligible for benefits. The more forthcoming you are about your past medical history, lifestyle choices, and previous claims, the better your lawyer can assess your claim to determine how he or she can best help you.