Roles that Defense and Applicant Attorneys play in Workers’ Comp: A historical perspective
Many workers’ compensation claims today involve an attorney at some point. The work comp system, when it came to the United States from Germany, was supposed to be simple, transparent and efficient—a system without attorneys or judges, that focused on three simple steps:
- Medical treatment
- Patient recovery
- Patient’s return to work
Any permanent impairment would be measured by a doctor with a simple formula, and would tell you how much that injury was worth.
Permanent disability, on the other hand, was originally used to measure the amount of machines the worker could no longer operate. The amount of compensation that the injured worker received would then come from that loss.
So, how did work-comp become one of the most complicated areas of law?
Why are defense attorneys involved in today’s workers’ compensation system? There are two primary reasons why attorneys need to get involved:
- Suspicious circumstances – Employees sometimes try to obtain compensation that they’re not entitled to.
- Denied medical treatment – Employees sometimes do not receive the treatment that they are entitled to.
This, in turn, results in:
- Increased cost of the claim.
- Increased amount of medical treatment ultimately provided.
And, finally, that an injured worker seeks out an attorney. This can then further result in additional body parts being added to the claim. Therefore, providers should always be asking themselves:
“How do I get this case accurately resolved, in the fastest amount of time?”
When this doesn’t happen, lawyers get involved.