Friday, January 05, 2007
Can You Do It Yourself?
Workers comp is so complicated that it has its own rules, its own separate caselaw and statutes, medical guidelines, and even comes under two Colorado agencies (the Division of Workers Compensation and the Office of Administative Courts). Deadlines and forms are also quite complicated and even those with experience must stay on top of them in every claim they handle. Some claimants believe they can try to handle their own claim. Others feel they will be treated fairly especially if they are receiving some benefits. While there are cases where you can receive decent medical care and benefits it is rare that any claim will go smoothly all the way to the end. Certainly the Division has a customer service section which does provide some basic help and it is possible to handle your claim pro se (without an attorney). I suspect many claimants want to avoid using an attorney and think they can come out ahead by saving on the legal fees. All I can say is this....if you can retain an experienced workers comp attorney then do so as he or she will usually maximize your benefits. Too many times the medical care is incomplete. Too many times the amounts due you are very low and you are told it is all you are entitled to receive. Many times an attorney can obtain substantially more benefits for you and far more then the legal contingency fee which is 20% in Colorado. So try to obtain a lawyer to help you with your claim. Do it yourself only as a last resort when a lawyer cannot be found to take your claim. Moreover here is one more tip: whenever possible obtain an attorney early on in your case. The sooner the better given the contingency fee is the same anyway.