Workers’ comp benefits can include medical care, rehabilitation expenses, and disability coverage to compensate you for lost wages. Should you’ve been injured on the job or become ill through your work, you may have already been told that you could receive some or all of these benefits through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
In the event you are a dependent family member of someone who was killed at work, you might be entitled to death benefits through workers’ compensation.
This article takes a brief look at each form of workers’ compensation benefit — explaining what it is and who is eligible. Each state has its own spin on these general rules, and also the details can be complicated. In case you have any questions about your workers’ comp benefit eligibility, or if an employer is disputing your right to workers’ comp benefits, you must check with legal counsel in your state who has experience dealing with workers’ compensation issues.
In determining whether an injury falls under the coverage of workers’ compensation the first thing to understand is this law protects only employees. The Workers’ Compensation statute provides legal guidance on who’s a covered employee and company. A real employer-employee relationship must exist. Some businesses are set up in such a style that some individuals don’t actually work for the company but work with it as independent contractors. Other companies do not have any employees because they are a sole-proprietorship or partnership. Persons in these classes, if they desire workers’ compensation insurance, may opt to be covered and can have the necessary insurance. There is a statutory procedure for electing coverage.
What forms of incidents are and are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance?
Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to cover injuries that result from workers’ or employers’ carelessness. The variety of injuries and situations covered is comprehensive, but there are limits. States can visit alcohol and drug testing on the injured worker and may deny the employee workers’ compensation benefits if such tests demonstrate the worker was under the influence at the time of the injury. Compensation can also be denied if the injuries were self-inflicted; where the employee was breaking a law or company policy; and where the worker was not on the job at that period of the harm.
You are probably wondering what kind of benefits you’ll receive in the event you have been injured at work. As part of a typical workers’ compensation claim, in general, injured employees are entitled to four different types of benefits:
- weekly damages
- permanent impairment benefits
- payment of medical bills
- vocational rehabilitation
Cash benefits aren’t paid for the very first seven days of the disability unless it extends beyond fourteen days. In that case, the worker may receive cash benefits from the very first work day of the occupation. Essential medical care is provided no matter how short or how long the length of the handicap.
Claimants who are totally or partially disabled and unable to work for more than seven days receive cash benefits. The amount that a worker receives is based on his/her average weekly wage for the prior year. The following formula is used to calculate benefits:
2/3 x average weekly wage x % of incapacity = weekly benefit
Therefore, a claimant who was making $400 per week and is fully (100%) disabled would receive $266.67 per week. A partially disabled claimant (50%) would receive $133.34 per week.
The injured or sick worker who is eligible for workers’ compensation will receive essential medical care directly linked to the original injury or illness and the recovery from his or her impairment. The treating health care provider should be authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board, except in an emergency situation. You’ll figure out more details regarding authorized providers and locate suppliers that are authorized in the Injured Workers or Health Care Providers sections of this site or by phoning 1-800-781-2362.
Rehabilitation benefits pay for medical and curative care (for example physical therapy) required to help you cope with and recover from your injury or illness. They also cover the care and training needed for you to regain the skills and abilities you have to return to work.
Rehabilitation benefits might pay for the evaluation, retraining, tuition, and other expenses associated with helping you become capable of working at an alternative job, in case your injury or sickness prevents you from returning to your former occupation.
Most states’ workers’ compensation programs provide death benefits to folks who were related to the deceased worker ( for instance, a spouse, child, parent, or sibling) and were financially dependent on that person. Although most states provide funeral and burial expenses as part of the benefit, the principal goal of the benefit would be to compensate family members that are dependent on the loss of financial support. Most states calculate this benefit as a percentage of the deceased worker’s earnings. Some states have maximum and minimum amounts; others supply a lump sum.
Who is covered by workers’ compensation insurance?
Most types of employees are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Nevertheless, states typically exclude some workers from coverage, such as:
- independent contractors
- business owners
- employees of private homes
- farmers and farmhands
- maritime workers
- railroad employees
- casual workers
Because employees of the federal government are covered under the national workers’ compensation insurance program, they’re not insured by state workers’ comp. Some states do not enforce the workers’ compensation plan on companies with fewer than 3 to 5 employees working for them. This varies from state to state.
Under the workers’ compensation process, companies must buy insurance that provides benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries and sicknesses. The system strikes a compromise between employees and companies: Employees get gains regardless of who was responsible. In return, employers get protection from suits by injured workers seeking money damages for mental anguish or pain and suffering.
Workers’ compensation is regulated by state law, and the system in every state differs somewhat in the details. (There’s a different national workers’ comp system for all those working for the federal government, including U.S. Post Office employees.) On the other hand, the construction and functioning of the entire workers’ compensation system are quite similar from state to state. The primary differences are the procedural rules employers, employees as well as the rates paid to injured workers, and insurance companies must abide by.
To learn the details of the law in your state, get in touch with your state department of industrial relations or workers’ compensation. You may also locate info on state workers’ compensation laws at the U.S. Department of Labor’s website, www.dol.gov. From the home page, click “Crowd,” afterward “Employers,” then “State Workers’ Compensation Laws” (recorded under the “Workers Compensation” heading).
- Report workplace injuries and illnesses within five business days of becoming conscious of them;
An injury claim to file with the WCB and not take any actions to deter them from doing
- Submit exact payroll information in a timely manner in order for the WCB to establish premiums;
- Pay premiums in a timely manner , not pass on how much is being spent on coverage to workers;
- Make sure the contractors or subcontractors your business works with complying with WCB requirements;
- Re-employ workers you’ve employed for at least twelve continuous months before the exact date of their injury or sickness. This duty applies only to companies with 25 or more full-time or regular part-time workers, and
- Inform the WCB when injured workers return to work following an absence as a result of workplace injury.
There could possibly be cases where your employer may be sued by you but workers’ compensation is regarded as the exclusive remedy for workplace injuries in many states. This really is failure to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage can lead to exorbitant sanctions against the offending company, including:
- Criminal prosecution;
- Private obligation of the employer for any workers’ compensation benefits due injured workers; and,
An employee’s exercising the option to sue the employer as an alternative to file a compensation claim.
- Employers must get and keep in effect workers’ compensation coverage for their employees (Workers); there have to not be any lapse in coverage even when changing insurance carriers.
- An employer must supply access to the Workers’ Compensation Board to any or all books, records, and payrolls associated with employees upon request.
- An employer might not discriminate against an employee or applicant because she or he has maintained or tried to claim workers’ compensation.
Company’s Obligation Not to Retaliate
Although workers’ compensation laws provide remedies to injured employees, additionally they protect employers, as they’re made to be the sole remedy that injured employees may seek away from their employers. Nonetheless, companies often appear to frown on employees who file workers’ compensation benefits claims, and some blatantly discriminate against such employees.
To protect employees from employers who discriminate against, harass, or unjustly terminate injured employees, the majority of states prohibit employers from punishing, discriminating against, or discharging employees who exercise their rights under workers’ compensation laws, and permit employees to bring civil actions against their employers for the tort of “retaliatory discharge.”
When a worker believes she or he has been discriminated against or discharged in retaliation for exercising rights under workers’ compensation laws, she or he may have a claim against her or his employer for retaliatory discharge. In a retaliatory discharge suit, the employee must convince a judge or jury that it was more likely than not that he/she was wrongfully terminated. But, the employee doesn’t need to show the workers’ compensation claim is the exclusive reason for the dismissal. The evaluation is usually whether the company’s action is rooted substantially or significantly in the employee’s exercise of rights under workers’ compensation laws.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers’ compensation laws cover work-related injury or illness. However, sickness or the harm does not need to must happen in the office. As long as it’s occupation-connected, it is insured. As an example, workers are covered when they can be injured while traveling on a company, running a work-related errand, or attending a business-related social function.
Covered injuries and illnesses can range between unexpected mishaps — such as falling off a scaffolding — to harms that occur over time, for example computer-related repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), or illnesses that result from exposure to workplace substances, air pollution, or radiation. By way of example, many workers receive compensation for repetitive strain injuries including carpal tunnel syndrome and back problems. Workers also receive damages for ailments and illnesses which are the gradual consequence of working conditions — for example, heart conditions, lung disorder, and anxiety-related digestive problems.
When Can an Employee Sue a Company in Court?
Companies are not shielded from all worker suits related to injuries. They change from state to state, although there are small exceptions which might permit an employee to sue an employer in court. In a few states, if the employee is injured due to the employer’s willful or dangerous activities, the worker can avoid the workers’ compensation system to sue the company in court for a complete array of cash damages, including punitive damages (meant to penalize the employer) and pain and suffering (the mental anguish, physical distress, or general loss of enjoyment of life resulting from the harms). The same is generally true in the event the company neglected to guarantee the necessary workers’ compensation insurance.
Have you received a denial letter from workers’ comp? If you have been injured on the job, you are probably entitled to compensation for your injury and your lost time from work. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, which means that most workers who are injured at work while performing work duties are entitled to benefits. However, most of the time, these benefits are funded by insurance companies. This means that the insurance company is typically the one deciding whether your claim is accepted or denied.
But why was your claim refused in the first place? Here are the most common reasons why your Workers’ Compensation Claims was denied:
Your Injury Did Not Happen At Work
To be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits, your injury must have happened while you were performing your job duties.
For example, if you work in a restaurant and twist your knee while taking dishes to the kitchen, it is likely you are owed advantages. On the other hand, if you were injured while you were on your lunch break or on your commute to the restaurant, then you’re most likely not eligible to make a claim.
There is a small gray area around this rule. If you were not at your job site but you were at a work assignment or event (like a company retreat), you may have a claim.
You should keep in mind that insurance companies, and even your employer, may work very hard to try to prove that you weren’t at work when your injury occurred, even if you know you were.
In a case where there is no witnesses or CCTV footage, it can be difficult to challenge this decision. However, an experienced Workers’ Settlement attorney can be a powerful force in having this decision reversed.
You Didn’t Report Your Harm Immediately
Workers’ compensation insurers don’t like cases where the accident doesn’t get reported immediately either. They assume that, if you don’t report the injury immediately, you weren’t really hurt. Moreover, most states’ workers’ settlement laws require you to report work-related injuries within a short time period, sometimes in as little as seven days. Don’t wait. If you get hurt at work, and you think that your injury has the slightest chance of causing you to miss any work, report it immediately to a supervisor and fill out an accident report. That will comply with the law and will help your chances of getting benefits as soon as you need them.
There’s a Discrepancy Between Your Accident Report and Initial Medical Records
Insurers will often deny workers’ damages claims if the employee’s statements about how the accident happened are inconsistent. If you tell your manager the injury occurred one way, but tell your doctor that the accident happened in a different way, that will damage your case. Make sure that, when you tell co-workers, supervisors, people in the personnel office, and health care providers about the injury occurred, you’re consistent.
No Medical Treatment
If an employee calls into work with an excuse like “I can’t come into work today, because I hurt my back yesterday on the job”, there are no workers’ comp benefits when there is no medical treatment. Regardless of how many days the worker claims he stayed home in bed while his back got better, it is not workers’ comp claim. There must be a clinical treatment to verify the nature of and extent of the harm, or indemnity benefits will be refused, even when the employee remains off work longer than the state’s waiting period.
Blood Work Confirmed The Use Of Alcohol or Drugs At The Time Of The Injury
In the immediate aftermath of your accident, a blood test for alcohol or drug use could be performed. If you are found to be under the influence of any type of mind-altering substance, your claim will be denied.
Appealing A Denied Claim
In the event your workers’ compensation benefits are refused, you will be notified of the reasons for the decision. You have the right to appeal the SBWC’s decision, which you may do by requesting a hearing within the appropriate time frame. At this hearing, evidence from both sides will be presented before an administrative law judge, who will subsequently make a decision in your case. You’ve got the right to hire a lawyer at any point during this process, and it is recommended that you do so in order to ensure your claim is represented properly.
In the event that you still want to appeal the decision, bear in mind that it can be a complicated legal process best handled by an experienced workers’ comp attorney. The appeals procedure varies by state but often involves a hearing before an administrative law judge, either through the labor department or state workers’ compensation board. There may be multiple levels of appeal, but check your state’s laws for specifics.
Tips for Winning Your Workers’ Comp Case
It’s no enjoyment to be involved in a potential Workers’ Damages court case, aside from the expense there is lots of uncertainty as to time frame for the trail, the time it takes to prepare, as well as the trail itself.
Plus, win or lose, the attorneys, expert witnesses, and all and trail linked fees varying court have to get paid. Then there is the loss of hours for yourself along with your workers. Bottom line, whatever you certainly can do to ensure it goes by quickly and efficiently is going to save you time and money.
Figures demonstrate litigated workers compensation claims cost the most.
Seek Medical Treatment as Soon as Possible
Seek medical treatment immediately in the event you become injured or sick as an effect of an episode at work, When you apply for workers’ damages benefits, not only is getting treatment right away the best option for your health, it may also be helpful. Claimants who don’t seek treatment right away are viewed with suspicion. Make sure to follow any treatment advice that your doctor gives you.
Tell the Doctor You Were Injured on the Job
Because of a burden of proof requirements, workers must show that their injury or occupational disease was brought on by a work-related accident or exposure. Doctors could be asked to provide an opinion about the relationship between your job obligations and injury. You can make this easier for your doctor by describing your job duties in detail and ensuring that she or he understands exactly how you were injured on the job. Your medical records should include information about the history and conditions of your injury in addition to every body part involved.
Merely because an employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance that provides benefits to injured workers, it doesn’t mean the employer has no rights under state law. The company has the capability to fight an employee’s claim of harm though individual states may differ in their own procedures or steps marginally. To obtain a better understanding of your rights and also the measures needed to fight or protest a worker’s compensation claim, contact your state’s workers’ compensation agency or your insurance carrier for comprehensive advice.
Start the Process Instantly
Ensure your representative at your carrier is given of every bit of paperwork she or he desires as soon as possible. Afterward, by all means, stay on it. A couple of phones calls and some emails create a paper trail and make sure that your difficulty doesn’t end up on the bottom of the heap. That said you do so it’s always good to have something to add to the case or to ask for confirmation of receipt, not wish to be a pain.
A terrific thing to send over immediately is the personnel file of the man making the claim. Comprise safety records and any negative write-ups of the employee. Time sheets work well too especially if your worker has dilemmas showing up on time or leaving early. Also medical records. Important items.
Stay on it
It’s in your best interest to talk to that individual as well after the case has been assigned to a lawyer. Don’t simply think “Well it’s in the system now it’s going to take its course.” The attorney who is representing you, much like the claims adjuster has seen plenty of cases and might have some questions that the other did not think of. You’d so take advantage of your access to the lawyer and see if there’s something everyone missed, be surprised how one great thought can turn everything around in your favor.
By developing a relationship if this really is the kind of case that can critically impact your bottom line you can stress the importance of the case to you and your business they must know it. 100K is a lot of money to a business that is little and peanuts to a mega corporation.
Do Your Homework
Ask around, particularly among the rest of your staff. The more you know about the habits of the claimant and may pass along the greater the chances he or she’s going to slip up. Did he like to bowl? Does she line dance? Does the guy load his own groceries into his car at the local supermarket when his claim is for a bad back? I understand it sounds a little “invasive” but let’s face it, the person filling this claim (if it’s fictitious) is breaking the law and stealing from you. No mercy. Ask around.
The claims examiner or adjuster for the insurance company must complete a comprehensive investigation of each workers’ compensation claim presented to the insurance carrier. This must happen within a particular amount of time to avoid state fines and penalties. The claims examiner contacts the employer first on the injured worker and other pertinent information for his version of events, possible witness names, salary info. Think your worker is lying or you have knowledge the injury occurred outside of the work environment, be prepared to provide your claims examiner with these facts during the company interview stage of the investigation when you suspect fraud.
If you’ve suffered a serious work-related injury or illness, it’s usually a good idea to hire an attorney to handle your workers’ compensation claim. Because workers’ comp law is complex and highly specialized, clients are generally not well-served by attorneys who try to dabble in workers’ comp. You must find a lawyer with specific expertise in workers’ compensation.
Unfortunately, it is not always easy to distinguish the workers’ comp experts from the dabblers. Television commercials, print ads, and internet marketing often contain more style than substance. The most reliable indicators of a quality attorney-years of experience, depth of knowledge, attention to detail, trustworthiness-are seldom apparent in an advertisement. While it might take some extra effort to locate the right lawyer for you, it can make all the difference in your case.
What is Workers’ Compensation Law?
Workers’ compensation is insurance intended to provide financial assistance to you and your family after a work-connected injury, but obtaining benefits can be complicated and confusing. A simple error on your claim can cost you the benefits you deserve. That’s why you should contact Michigan Injury Lawyers. We’ll guide you through the application process and do everything we can to protect your right to compensation.
Ask for recommendations from friends, colleagues, and family members
Many good workers’ comp lawyers do little to no advertising, instead relying on word-of-mouth and referrals from satisfied former clients. State and local bar associations and legal aid offices may be able to supply referrals as well. You’re much more likely to find quality counsel through a referral than by flipping through the phone book and hoping for the best.
Document the Injury in Writing
Many employers have a form for documenting work-related injuries. If there is no form, find some paper and document the harm including a description of what happened, what you were doing and the time and place of the injury. If possible, have your supervisor sign the written report.
If there are witnesses to the accident, identify them and have them make a written statement too. Get copies of all statements and keep them for your personal records. If a written report is not generated, be aware that your employer could deny that you ever provided any notice of the harm.
Make Sure Your Claim is Filed Properly
All workers’ compensation claims in North Carolina are regulated and overseen by the NC Industrial Commission in Raleigh. All injury claims must be filed with the Commission before they can take jurisdiction over your case. Injured workers must file an Industrial Commission Form 18, while the company must file an Industrial Commission Form 19. Industrial Commission Rule 04 NCAC 10A .0104 requires an employer to provide an injured worker with a blank Form 18 to complete. The employee should also receive a copy of the employer’s completed Form 19, which will be of assistance in filling out the Form 18.
If Benefits Are Denied
- If the insurance company denies benefits, move quickly to file an application for an administrative hearing with your state workers’ comp board
- Review your workers’ comp file to see what’s there
- Make a list of everything that’s in your workers’ comp file. Make duplicates of items that are important to your case
- Make three copies of your own medical records. This should include your physician’s narrative, a copy of the medical form sent to workers’ comp and copies of any test results. Keep one copy at home so you always have one
- Always make sure your doctors fills out the medical forms properly and fully to avoid having a hearing held up because a doctor forgot to check a box or answer a simple question
- Make sure your medical reports include how the injury is related to your job, the full diagnosis of the harm, the course of treatment, and any permanent or partial disability rating
- Fully document any mental disability, such as depression, that results from your injury
- Always save your notice of decision letters informing you of the judge’s decision and how many days you have to appeal. Note the name of the judge
Many law firms specialize in certain areas. If you happen to work in construction, and you locate a Los Angeles workers compensation attorney who specializes in building-related cases and has a proven track record in this field, then he is the guy for you. On the flip side, if you work in the automobile industry, then this particular lawyer isn’t for you.
Once you have found the right lawyer they will have the capacity to advise you on whether you have a claim that is worth pursuing. Assuming it can be proved your allegation of negligence on the part of your company can be proved, then he will fight your case for you.
A victorious plaintiff in a work related compensation claim will find themselves rewarded with a sum of money commiserate with the amount of pain and suffering that they have been subjected to as a result of their harm, as well as current loss of earnings and any future loss of earnings, if applicable.
Look for an attorney who inspires confidence and treats you with respect
The initial consultation is a great time to evaluate the attorney’s professionalism and demeanor when dealing with customers. A quality attorney will answer all your questions patiently and authoritatively and will listen to and address your concerns. If you have to meet with three or four (or more) attorneys before finding one who inspires complete confidence, that is a relatively small price to pay. Also take note of the attitudes and behavior of the secretaries, legal assistants, and paralegals in the office, as you’ll likely be interacting with them on a regular basis. If they treat you rudely or dismissively or don’t return your calls promptly, feel free to take your business elsewhere. As your case progresses, your lawyer should provide you with periodic updates on the status of your claim. In the event you rarely hear from your attorney, find a lawyer who will give your case the attention it deserves.
Whether you are thinking about filing a lawsuit or asking questions about a legal dispute, you need a lawyer to help you. Often people are confused about what type of lawyer they need to hire. Similar to physicians, lawyers generally work in a specific area of law.
Business Lawyer (also called Corporate Lawyer)
Company law is quite broad, and business attorneys will often deal with several areas of law discussed below, including employment, intellectual property, and mergers and acquisitions. Sometimes these lawyers just focus on basic business legal tasks such as forming your company, while others are more encompassing and will work on all types of business needs from employment issues to tax compliance. Also, some attorneys focus only on small businesses and startups, while others focus on large enterprises.
Keep in mind that there are company transactional lawyers and business litigation attorneys as well. The difference between these two types of business lawyers is significant, in that business transactional attorneys handle transactions (such as negotiating deals) and drafting documents (such as employment agreements), while business litigation lawyers manage your lawsuits (such as when someone sues your firm for violating the terms of a contract). Most of the time, a company transactional lawyer will not do business litigation, and vice versa, although there are exceptions.
There are two different types of bankruptcy attorneys: commercial insolvency lawyers who will help you file for bankruptcy for your business, and consumer bankruptcy attorneys who’ll assist you to file for bankruptcy for yourself or with your spouse.
Commercial bankruptcy attorneys protect your organization from creditors when you are going through a bankruptcy filing. They can also help you clear loans and request time to restructure your company.
Employment lawyers handle all legal disputes that may arise between the employer and employee so that the rights of an employee can be protected, in terms of wages, job security, and other employment law related cases.
Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal defense lawyers assist individuals accused of committing a crime ranging from theft to driving under the influence to murder. These criminal charges are prosecuted by a state or federal district attorney’s office. Prosecutors don’t negotiate with those accused of crimes. They will negotiate with defense attorneys to reduce or discharges. If a plea doesn’t occur, a criminal lawyer will represent the accused at trial.
Immigration lawyers help with employees and family members wanting to secure visas for foreign-born people. The majority of work for immigration lawyers come from businesses since they hire a lot of workers from outside the United States. The type of immigration work involves filing forms with the U.S. government on clients’ behalf.
A household attorney handles all matters concerning the family, which may include divorces, battles for child custody, and request for child support.
Family law covers the state regulation of family relationships including spouses, parents, children, guardians, wards and domestic partners. The family law might be divided into domestic relations covering marital and domestic partner relationships and juvenile law covering juvenile delinquency (criminal offenders) and dependency (truancy, runaways and unruly, abused or neglected kids). Legal issues include marriage, domestic violence, divorce, child custody, marital property rights, paternity, parental rights and obligations and juvenile problems.
Intellectual Property Lawyer (IP)
Intellectual Property, or IP, attorneys cope with anything having to do with protecting intellectual property, that is intangible (something you can’t touch like a song or an idea) property. The three major areas of law within the intellectual property are copyright, trademark, and patent. Some IP lawyers only concentrate on copyright and trademark issues, while some just focus on patent problems. Patent law is one area that requires further licensing than just a regular law degree and also requires a technical background (such as one in engineering, software development, chemistry, or life sciences).
Since IP laws are all very technical and different from each other, attorneys don’t tend to handle all of these problems (however IP law firms will have a team of lawyers who can help you with any of them). Like most areas of law, there are normal IP attorneys and IP litigators. The normal IP lawyers help with all the filings required to protect your IP, while litigators are the ones who go to court to battle who owns what IP and how much that IP protects the individual in a given dispute.
Tax attorneys usually help companies and individuals comply with state and federal laws when filing their tax returns. However, a larger proportion of these lawyers actually goes to court to defend you if the IRS audits you and you face potential jail time or significant fines. Most individual tax attorneys also work in estate planning in some fashion unless they work in the tax department of a large corporation.
Divorce lawyers play distinct roles depending on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, the terms can be negotiated without going to court. A divorce lawyer can draw up or revise documents and serve as a mediator between you and your partner, as with Alternative Dispute Resolution.
If you can’t decide on the conditions of your split (such as assets, child custody, etc.) then you’re involved in a contested divorce and must go to court. In this case, a divorce attorney is able to help divide assets or represent your interests in the event of disagreements. Your lawyer will also draw up the necessary files and advise you on your next steps.
General Practice Lawyer
This type of attorney is the most approached lawyer in case a person needs legal advice or a legal advocate on small disputes. A general practice attorney also works as a notary public.
General practice attorneys cover a broad range of areas, but they often don’t have much specialization in any particular area. For this reason, a general practice lawyer can represent you in court, draft and review records, and be your advocate in negotiations, but they may have to refer you to another attorney if they’re not familiar with your situation.