Do I Need a Lawyer?

When people are hurt on the job and facing a workers' compensation claim, usually their first two questions are, "Do I need to a lawyer?" and "If so, how much will it cost me?"

If you are injured in the course and scope of employment, you may file a claim with the State Board of Workers' Compensation pro-se (without a lawyer) and represent yourself. You cannot, however, have someone else represent you if he or she is not an attorney.

Representing yourself without the benefit of an attorney's training and experience is not a simple matter. The law requires you to follow certain steps, file certain forms, present certain evidence to the Judge and comply with certain time limits. If you fail to meet one of these requirements the Judge may dismiss your case or deny you the relief requested. You could lose valuable rights and fail to recover benefits you are entitled to be paid. If you still wish to proceed pro-se, you should consult the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation to obtain the proper forms ( www.sbwc.georgia.gov). If you wish to hire an attorney or at least discuss the process and cost of hiring one, you should contact one of the experienced attorneys at Burnside Law Firm LLP for more information. You should also read the rest of this article before making your decision.

If you hire a lawyer, how much will it cost? Under workers' compensation law, an attorney cannot take a fee for representing you unless he or she recovers income benefits for you. If you hire an attorney, they will ask you to sign a fee contract and it will be filed with the Georgia State Board. The amount of attorney's fees is subject to approval. The State Board of Workers' Compensation will not approve a fee in excess of 25% of the claimant's award of weekly (income) benefits or settlement. OCGA 34-9-108. Therefore, regardless of who you hire, the attorney's fees will in all likelihood cost you 25 percent of your recovery of weekly income benefits. Generally, if no recovery is made, no attorney's fees are owed. Your attorney is not entitled to fees on the recovery of medical expenses.

If you have a workers' compensation claim and want the services of an attorney, contact one of the experienced lawyers at Burnside Law Firm LLP for a free initial consultation.

Disclaimer: Every worker's compensation case has its own unique facts and circumstances. The information above is a general description of the issues presented and should not be relied upon as legal advice in your case. For specific legal advice, contact one of the lawyers at Burnside Law Firm LLP.

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