Questions to Ask When Hiring an Ohio Workers' Comp Lawyer
If you've been injured in a workplace accident, you may be considering contacting an Ohio workers' comp attorney. It's important to interview a lawyer before making a hiring decision.
However, if you've never needed a lawyer before, you may not know which questions to ask. This article will give you a number of ideas. Feel free to use whichever you like, and add more as you see fit.
Interviewing Ohio Workers' Comp Lawyers
After gathering the name of one or more Ohio workers' comp lawyers, call each one to set up an initial consultation. This is a brief interview where you can introduce yourself and talk about your on-the-job accident.
You can accomplish many goals at the initial consultation. You'll learn about the attorney's background, skills, and strategy. You'll be able to get some feedback about the strength of your Ohio workers' comp claim and how much money it is worth. And most of all, you'll be able to determine whether this is the attorney to represent you.
Many Ohio workers' comp lawyers offer these initial consultations free of charge, but double check when you book the appointment.
Whether you are in Akron or Cincinnati or any other part of Ohio, make sure you prepare ahead of time for these interviews. You'll want to decide which questions you want to ask and make a written list. Bring the questions with you, along with some writing materials to record the answers and any other notes you might have.
Background & Experience
An easy way to start the conversation with an Ohio workers' comp attorney is to ask about his or her background and experience. Some questions to ask include:
- How long ago did you graduate from law school? From which law school did you graduate?
- From which school did you get your four-year degree?
- How long have you been practicing law?
- On average, how many people a year do you represent with claims before the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation?
- Do you take other kinds of cases? If so, what kinds?
- How many of your workers' comp cases settle each year? How many end up going to an administrative hearing for resolution?
- Have you had a client before with a workplace accident similar to mine or with injuries like mine?
Do you belong to any bar associations or other professional organizations? If so, which ones?
Legal Philosophy & Style of Offering Legal Advice
You'll want to understand how the lawyer approaches Ohio workers' comp claims. Some questions to ask here are:
- What is your approach or philosophy in handling Ohio workers' comp claims?
- How would you describe your style as an attorney?
- How do you handle decision-making? Will you present various options to me to decide, or are you more likely to tell me what I should do?
Assessment of Your Ohio Workers' Comp Claim
The lawyer will also ask you questions about your workplace accident. If you've already filed a claim, they'll want to know where you are in the claims process.
Most importantly, you'll want to know what the lawyers think of your chances of receiving workers' compensation benefits for your injuries. Consider asking:
- What is your opinion and assessment of my claim?
- Does my accident meet the guidelines for Ohio workers' compensation benefits?
- How much in benefits could I expect to receive if we settled? If we went to administrative hearing?
- Are there any problems with my claim that could cause a delay in receiving Ohio workers' compensation benefits?
- How likely is it that we won't be able to settle and have to go to an administrative hearing?
- How long will it take before I see any benefits?
Lawyers use the term case management to describe how clients' cases are handled. It's important to understand who is working on what aspect of your case, so you are clear on what to expect. To get a better handle on how your claim will be managed, ask:
- Do you have time to represent me?
- Will other attorneys work on my claim? What would they be doing?
- Will you personally manage my claim? Or, would it be someone else? If so, who?
- Will you be the one representing me at settlement talks or at the administrative hearing? Or, will someone else take on these responsibilities?
- Who will be my day-to-day contact?
- Will you provide regular progress reports? What will they cover? How often will I receive them?
- How do you prefer that I contact you? How quickly can I expect a response?
You've probably wondered how much an Ohio workers' comp lawyer costs. Some questions that will help you understand the costs include:
- Do you charge by the hour? If so, how much?
- Will you take a percentage of any money I am able to receive from my claim? If so, how much?
- Do you require an up-front retainer fee?
- How much more can I expect to pay in legal expenses if we settle? If we go to an administrative hearing?
- Can you do the math and show me some examples of how much money I would take home after paying legal fees and expenses if we settled? If we went to an administrative hearing?
- If we are not successful in obtaining any benefits, will I still owe you anything?
Hiring an Ohio Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Once you've met with each attorney on your list, it's time to choose one to represent you. If you only interviewed one and he or she was fantastic or if you interviewed several but one was a real stand-out, than your decision is easy. If, however, you have several qualified candidates, consider calling some of their previous clients to get some first-person feedback about their interactions and experiences with the attorneys.
If you're still undecided, it's time to ask yourself some questions. Ask:
Upon answering your own questions, you should have the answer to the most important question: Which attorney is the best one to handle your Ohio workers' compensation claim? When you have this answer, you are ready to move forward in your efforts to get compensation for your workplace accident and injuries.