Workers' compensation insurance is designed to protect both your business and your employees from on-the-job injuries. In most states, workers' compensation is either no-fault or reduced fault, meaning that employees can file a claim even if they bear some or all of the responsibility for the accident. This protection works both ways, however, and it generally also protects your business from liability in the event that some or all of the fault does not lie with the injured employee.
In most cases, this system works as intended, and your workers' compensation insurance will ensure that your employee receives proper care and compensation while also shielding you from additional liability. There are certain circumstances, however, where you may need to hire the services of a workers' compensation defense lawyer.
The Role of the Defense Lawyer
If your business is covered by workers' compensation insurance, then it is unlikely that you will need an attorney in any workers' compensation claim. If your employee chooses to sue for additional damages, they will likely sue your insurance company who will have their own legal staff for defense. If, however, you operate a business in a state that allows self-insurance, then you may need to consider the services of a defense attorney if one of your employees has been injured.
Your defense attorney's primary role is to defend your interests and help to ensure that the compensation received by your employee is fair and just. In some ways, your defense attorney will act in a similar role to an insurance adjuster. They will evaluate the claims of your employee and their legal counsel (if any) in addition to conducting an investigation into the accident in order to determine fault and limit, if necessary, your liability.
When Should You Hire One?
As a general rule, you should have a defense attorney available if you are a self-insured employer. Remember that the role of your defense attorney is not to prevent your employee from receiving their benefits, so you should not feel as though you are working against the interests of your employees by using an attorney. Instead, the purpose of retaining a defense attorney is to make sure that the claim is properly investigated and that your interests are protected.
While most employers want to think the best of their employees, a defense attorney can also help to defend you against fraudulent claims. Most workers' compensation claims are made in good faith, but as a self-insured employer, the potentially large costs of a fraudulent claim mean that any claim made by your employees should be properly investigated. Having a defense attorney like those at Dawson & Associates, LLC on your side guarantees that this investigation will be carried out properly and competently so that the claim can be handled in a way that is fair to both you and your employee.