There is no reguirement under the WCL for you to be represented by a lawyer. You can represent yourself. Therefore, technically, you do not need a legal representative. The reality of the process illustrates that the insurance companies are either represented by lawyers or company hearing representatives who are trained to protect the rights and funds of the insurance company. The WCB is the trier of fact and interpreter of the law. When you are not represented, this becomes a one sided process. Even though the compensation law was set up for the judges to review facts presented and if possible give some balance to the case before them; time constraints and other realities of the hearing process along with the ever escalating rules and regulations existent in the Workers’ Compensation process prevent or retard unrepresented claimants from getting an equal chance. Some statistics have been presented that conclude that represented claimants obtain higher benefits then those individuals left without proper representation. The WCL has become a highly technical process and those individuals not fully informed and knowledgeable of its twists and turns (sinews) can suffer delays if not worse.
Sec 24 of the WCL, details how and under what circumstances your representative can be paid. No payment is ever permitted directly from the claimant to the representative. Fees are earned based upon results and subject to an evaluation of services rendered by the trier of fact ( usually a Judge) on a case by case basis. Under these circumstances, no payment for attorneys services can be made without WCB approval. Attorneys fees for representation comes out of and are deducted from successful awards of indemnity benefits. Claimants are equally not responsible for payment to health providers for causally related health related services. These services are also regulated by the WCL and the Medical Treatment Guidelines and their interpretations by the WCB and Court System.