Workers' Compensation is confusing, and the system is working against you. Having the right attorney can make all the difference. Here are a couple of tips for making sure that you choose the right workers' compensation attorney:
1 . Find an attorney or firm that specializes.
You wouldn't go to a dentist for a knee surgery. Make sure that you're retaining a workers' compensation specialist to handle your workers' compensation matter. Workers’ Compensation is its own body of laws, with its own judges. You want someone who is familiar with the intricacies of the laws, familiar with the board, and also the local judges. Workers’ Compensation law firms also have relationships with medical practices that accept Workers’ Comp. patients, which can greatly improve the quality of your treatment. You won’t get the same level of assistance if Workers’ Compensation isn’t an attorney’s primary practice area.
2. Do your homework on Google.
Search for Workers’ Compensation attorneys in your area. Look at reviews, browse websites, and read attorney bios online. Many firms have social media presences and blogs. Take advantage of those resources to make sure you feel a connection.
3. Don’t forget about the support staff.
Workers’ Compensation cases generally work on a contingency fee, and that means you’re not paying directly for your attorney’s time. Consequently, more often than not, if you have a question or need help filling out some paperwork, you’ll be dealing with paralegals, case managers, legal assistants, and intake specialists, while your attorney goes to hearings and depositions. Make sure the support staff is knowledgeable and well-trained in the area of Workers’ Compensation.
4. Look for someone who will prioritize your treatment and not just your award.
Your financial award or settlement is obviously an important part of your case, but it’s not the most important part of your case. Your health and well-being is priceless, and your lawyer doesn’t get 15% of that. Make sure whoever you retain will help you get the best possible medical treatment -- that means helping you find a doctor who isn't in the insurance company's pocket -- and will fight for you when the insurance company denies necessary treatments. If your case is denied, your attorney should help you find a doctor who will treat on lien. Care is key.
Most firms offer free consultations to prospective clients! Does the person you talk to make you feel comfortable? Does he or she answer your questions and reassure you? Dealing with a workplace injury and a Workers’ Comp. claim can be incredibly painful and stressful, and you want to retain someone who will help you get through this difficult time.
Make the Consultation a Job Interview
Once you have your free consultation booked, you can start preparing for it. Namely, you should think about the questions you want to ask and why. It helps to remember that your attorney will be hired by you. See yourself as the boss and treat the consultation like you would a job interview with you being on the employer’s side of the desk.
Some of the questions commonly asked in job interviews include:
- How much experience do you have?
In terms of hiring a workers’ compensation attorney, you should be asking about experience spent specifically on workers’ comp cases and law. Many lawyers splash in workers’ compensation as a side practice but do not give enough time to focus on it.
- Can you represent me throughout the entirety of my claim?
You would be surprised with how many law firms only handle a certain portion of a case and not the entire thing. Some attorneys will leave a claim if it cannot settle because they cannot or do not litigate. Others only litigate and receive new clients through references. To keep your workers’ comp claim simple for yourself, it is beneficial to find a law firm that can manage every step of your case.
- Do you have references you would like to show me?
Remember that you are the “boss” in your consultation with your workers’ compensation attorney. Like most job interviews, you will probably want to see some references. Lawyers with a good reputation in their communities and legal circles will probably be excited to tell you about past clients and other firms who respect them.
- Do you represent insurance companies, too?
Some workers’ compensation law firms represent injured workers who are the plaintiffs and insurance companies that are the defendants. If they do represent both sides, then you need to make certain that they will be able to provide the correct type and amount of attention to your claim.
- Will you arrange for me to see medical experts as needed?
You might require further medical reviews to get the full picture of your work injuries. If your employer or their insurer is not cooperating with your workers’ compensation claim, then getting those exams will be difficult. Your attorney might be able to connect you with medical providers they trust and even pay for your examinations upfront.
- What do you think my case is worth?
Knowing the full value of a case is going to be difficult early on. But an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer should be able to evaluate the circumstances and let you know if your claim is at least worth pursuing.
Reach Out to a Team People Trust
Workers’ compensation claims are difficult but the right representation helps make everything make sense. At Pacific Workers’ Compensation Center, we fight for our clients while also making their lives easier through genuinely compassionate representation. If you need help, contact us today by dialing (888) 740-6434.