The reasons behind needing the assistance of an attorney
The three main reasons injured employees hire an attorney when filing Workers’ Compensation claims is lack of workplace trust, fear of the claim being denied, and the severity of the injury that occurred.
Workers’ Compensation Research Institute reviewed 7,000 claims and performed phone interviews with the claimants that were two to three years post-injury to better explain why workers preferred attorney representation.
Based on the results of these phone interviews, the involvement of attorneys varies immensely from state to state. The top five states with the highest number of injured workers who hired attorneys were Maryland at 50%, Tennessee showing slightly greater than 30%, California results showed a little less than 30% and Massachusetts and Florida were at 25% and 23%.
The results also showed that at 8 percent, Texas workers were the least likely to want attorney representation.
Employees are more likely to hire an attorney if:
- They feel threatened
- They fear termination
- If they feel the supervisor does not believe that their claim is valid
- If workers feel their claim could be denied
- They have a serious injury
Other factors that can increase the probability of attorney representation are:
- Workers who chose to be interviewed in Spanish
- Workers with one year or less on the job
- Older workers compared to younger workers
- High school graduates compared to workers who graduated from college
To avoid unnecessary attorney involvement, employers and claim organizations need to offer supervisor training, educational materials for employees, clear communications in a timely manner with injured employees, and to eliminate system issues that would delay payments and perceived denials.