How to Hire a Workers' Compensation Lawyer
If you've been injured while on the job and are having trouble getting your employer to pay for your work-place injuries, it may be time to contact a workers' compensation lawyer. However, if you've never hired a lawyer before, you may not know even the first step to take. This article will point you in the right direction.
When searching out a workers' compensation lawyer, you should keep a number of criteria in mind. You'll want an attorney who:
- Has experience representing employees injured by workplace hazards
- Suggests a strategy for handling your claim you can support
- Provides a realistic estimate of how much money you could receive if your claim settles or if you need to go to the workers' compensation administrative board for a hearing
- Charges a reasonable legal fee
- Puts you at ease in that you trust his or her advice and judgment
- You are comfortable working with for several months or more
Finding a Workers' Compensation Lawyer
There are several ways to find a workers' compensation lawyer who is qualified to handle your claim.
You can ask your friends and colleagues whether they've ever had to hire a workers' compensation attorney. If they have, get their input on the attorney who represented them. First-hand recommendations can be very valuable.
Also, even if you don't know any lawyers who practice workers' compensation law, you may know other attorneys. Ask them for names of colleagues they may know who could help you get reimbursed for your medical expenses in connection with your work-place injury.
If you still do not have enough leads or if you don't feel comfortable asking for referrals, you can find help here. Attorneys.com offers a service to connect you to attorneys in your area who handle your type of case.
When you are ready to begin the hiring process, call 1-877-913-7222 or complete the short form on this site. Upon answering a few questions, we will provide you with contact information for at least one workers' compensation attorney in your area. You may contact the lawyer yourself, or he or she will follow up with you within two business days.
Preparing to Meet with a Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Now that you have the names of at least one workers' compensation lawyer, set up an appointment to meet with the attorney. During this meeting, called an initial consultation, you can introduce yourself, describe your claim, and get some information on the attorney. These brief meetings are typically free, but confirm this when you call to make the appointment.
At these meetings, interview the lawyer about his or her background and experience. You should also share some information about your injury, so you can learn how the lawyer would handle your case. Then figure out if this lawyer is right for you.
Specifically, initial consultations should touch on several areas, including:
- The lawyer's background in representing workers' compensation claims
- Feedback about how much the attorney believes your claim is worth in workers' compensation benefits
- Possible strategies for handling your claim
- The lawyer's opinion on how likely a settlement might be and whether you will need to take your claim to an administrative hearing
- How the lawyer bills for the work that needs to be done
Additionally, if you have any special needs in an attorney-for example, evening appointments or communication in another language-you should ask about them at the initial consultations.
Because the lawyer is also using this meeting to learn about your claim, make sure you bring any documentation you have about your injury and medical follow-up. Describe the chain of events, including where and when it happened, and who was involved.
Prior to the meeting, you should prepare a written list of questions you'd like to ask the attorney and make notes about your injury and any discussions you've had with your employer, the workers' compensation insurance company, or doctors hired by your employer.
Meeting with Workers' Compensation Attorneys
Bring to your consultations the questions you have prepared ahead of time and some paper and pen to take notes during the meeting.
You can speak freely at these meetings, because the attorneys are bound by confidentiality rules not to divulge anything you say. Even if you do not end up hiring the attorney, he or she must keep your communication confidential.
During the meeting, pay close attention to how the attorneys answer your questions, and ask yourself how each one fits your hiring criteria:
- Do they have the experience and background you need for your claim?
- How confident are you are in their abilities and proposed strategy to handle your claim?
- Are the legal fees and expenses reasonable?
- Do you feel comfortable with them?
Once you've finished meeting with each workers' compensation attorney you wanted to interview, it's time to make a hiring decision. If you only met with one and you walked away feeling strongly in favor of that lawyer, then your decision may be easy.
If, however, you have a couple of strong candidates, you may want to ask them for contact information for prior clients. Call these clients and get some feedback about their experiences with the lawyer who handled their workers' compensation claim. Their feedback may help you select an attorney.
Once you've hired a lawyer, you are ready to move forward with your claim.