Another Injured Worker Without Attorney Loses Case
Some injured workers believe they do not need a workers’ compensation attorney. They think they can study some online materials and learn enough about the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act to get through their case. They figure they will do a good enough job to get some money from the insurer, and not have to pay an attorney any portion of that cash.
Representing yourself – a good idea?
Sometimes, that plan works out. Other times, injured workers end up seriously regretting the decision to represent themselves. Just last month, the Full Industrial Commission issued a ruling denying all benefits to an injured worker who claimed he was hit by a vehicle in a parking lot and developed lower back and hip pain. In Samman v. Managed Labor Solutions, a panel of three Commissioners reviewed the appeal of a worker from Cary, North Carolina whose workers’ compensation claim was denied. The Full Commission noted that the worker had chosen to proceed without an attorney and held that he had failed to meet his legal burden of proof establishing a compensable injury by accident under N.C. Gen. Stat. 97-84 (2017). Not only did he lose, but he ended up having to reimburse the insurer for half the mediation costs.
But would he have lost anyway?
Some of you may be saying, “So what if that guy lost? Maybe he would have lost even with an attorney’s help.” True…and sadly, we will never know. An injured worker gets only one shot at getting benefits. Except for an appeal, which even then is limited to the evidence obtained in the underlying hearing, there is no “do-over” in the law. When a worker chooses to gamble on his one shot at receiving workers’ compensation benefits, he loses the chance to go back, get an attorney, and start over. Done. Finished. Kaput.
In this ruling, the Full Commissioners did not list specific mistakes the worker made, or steps he could have done differently to win his case. However, the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Ricci Law Firm note from the ruling’s findings that the worker took none of the following steps most attorneys take during litigation:
- Subpoenaed any witnesses
- Deposed any doctors
- Obtained any expert opinions
- Served any interrogatories or requests for production
- Filed any discovery motions
- Challenged any wage calculations
Just like Mr. Samman, (the injured worker), we will never know if the above steps may have saved the day. But we do know that the attorneys at Ricci Law Firm are always well-trained, experienced, and diligent in their representation of injured workers. They know the law and fiercely use it to their clients’ advantage. We also know so many clients of Ricci Law Firm who are grateful they made the decision to retain counsel.
Before deciding whether you can “go it alone,” contact a workers’ compensation attorney at Ricci Law Firm for a free consultation.