Factors to Consider When Hiring a Chicago Workers' Comp Attorney
When you are looking for a Chicago workers’ comp lawyer, you have many priorities and factors to consider. This article will help you keep them straight so you can hire the right workers’ comp attorney for you.
If a workplace accident has left you injured, you are on the right track in thinking about contacting a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer. A workers’ comp attorney can help you get navigate the system so you can receive the maximum amount of benefits to compensate you for your medical bills and time off work.
It is important to meet with an attorney or two before you hire one. Many workers’ comp attorneys in Chicago are willing to talk with you at an initial consultation. At this brief meeting, you can learn about the attorney’s background, discuss possible legal strategies and determine whether this is someone you’d want to hire.
You’ll find that many lawyers don’t charge for their time at an initial consultation, while others ask for a nominal fee. Ask about any charges when you call to set up the appointment.
Evaluating a Chicago Workers’ Comp Lawyer
One of the most important areas to explore at an initial consultation is the lawyer’s background and experience. You’ll want someone who has been practicing in workers’ compensation law for some time. Find out how long the attorney has been representing Chicago clients with workers’ compensation claims.
Similarly, it would be helpful if your attorney was familiar with your type of accident and your type of injuries. Find out how many claims the attorney has handled similar to your own.
Finally, you’ll want a lawyer who stays current in the law. Some Chicago workers’ comp lawyers will join bar associations or other professional organizations so they can keep tabs on the latest developments in workers’ compensation law. Find out if the attorneys you interview belong to any such groups.
You can help the lawyers you meet better understand your accident if you bring with you several documents, such as:
- Medical records and bills relating to your injuries
- Photos you may have of your injuries
- Any correspondence you have with your employer regarding your accident
- Contact information for any witnesses to your accident
Based on the information you provide, the Chicago workers’ comp attorneys you meet will assess your claim’s strengths and come up with a plan for you to receive the most workers’ compensation benefits possible. You’ll also want to know whether the lawyer thinks you can settle your claim or whether you will have to go before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Another important area to consider is how much you will pay your lawyer. Workers’ compensation lawyers in Chicago bill their clients using a contingency fee.
A contingency fee will take a percentage of your benefits as payment for the hours a lawyer works your claim. The percentage may vary among Chicago workers’ comp lawyers. However, state law puts a cap of 20 percent as the maximum.
Factors that influence the price include:
- Experience – Chicago lawyers who have been practicing in workers’ comp law longer may charge more
- Location – the “going rate” in different areas vary; for example, the going rate in Calumet Heights might be less than on Magnificent Mile
- Overhead – the cost of running the office
Don’t count out lawyers who charge a higher percentage contingency fee. The experience and reputation they offer may land you a larger benefit from your Chicago employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
How Do You Feel About the Lawyers You Meet?
Beyond what you can put down in pro and con columns, you also need an attorney you can trust. As you are speaking with the Chicago workers’ comp lawyers, note how they answer your questions. Are they patient with you? Do you understand what they are saying or are they speaking legalese?
When you have finished interviewing all of the Chicago workers’ comp attorneys on your list, it’s time to choose one. Think back to each one and rate them in terms of their:
- Advice and proposed strategy
- Legal fees
- Your confidence in them and comfort level with them
When considering these factors, one should emerge as a top choice. Once you have hired a Chicago workers’ comp lawyer, you can proceed with your claim and seek the compensation you deserve.