Questions to Ask When Hiring a Dallas Workers' Compensation Lawyer
For employees hurt on the job in Dallas, workers’ compensation is essential. It provides the financial support they need while recovering from their injuries. Sometimes, however, those benefits are denied or delayed.
If you’re having difficulty getting workers’ compensation in Dallas, you need to hire an attorney. The right Dallas workers’ compensation attorney can play an important role in obtaining workers' compensation benefits. The right questions can help you decide which attorney to choose. This article explains the questions you should ask to find a qualified Dallas worker compensation attorney.
Background & Experience of a Dallas Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Your claim may be resolved in many ways, including arbitration, hearings and court. An attorney with strong experience gives you the best chance of success in each. To learn about an attorney’s experience, ask:
- How long have you been practicing workers’ compensation in Dallas?
- Do you only handle Dallas workers’ compensation cases?
- How many workers’ compensation cases have you handled?
- How many of your cases have been resolved in favor of the employee?
- Are you familiar with the staff of the Division of Workers’ Compensation?
- Are you familiar with the arbitrators, administrators and judges we may face?
- Are you a member of the Dallas and Texas bar associations?
- What other professional organizations have you joined?
Assessment of Your Workers’ Compensation Case
An attorney needs to explain your case clearly, and tell you his approach. Ask the attorney:
- What are the steps we need to take to resolve my benefits claim?
- What happens at each stage of my case?
- How do you think we should proceed?
- What are the good and bad points of my claim?
- What are the possible outcomes?
Management of your Benefits Claim
The term case management refers to how an attorney and his office handle your case on a daily basis. You need to understand who will be working on your claim and what each person does. Ask the attorney:
- Are you the attorney who will be working on my case and if not, who will?
- Who will represent me at hearings?
- Are there other members of your staff who will work on my case?
- May I meet the members of your legal team?
- How often will you give me a status update?
- Who do I call with questions?
- How long will it take to get an answer to my questions?
The Cost of Handling a Dallas Worker Compensation Claim
An attorney may bill differently for various aspects of a case. An hourly rate or a single fee may be used for simple matters, like filing an initial claim. Work on a claim that has been denied or is being fought by an insurance company will likely be billed on a contingency fee, or percentage of the benefits you get. It’s important to understand how an attorney is paid. Ask the attorney:
- What is your fee arrangement for handling my claim?
- What is your hourly rate, flat fee or the percentage you will take from my benefits?
- What is included in your fee?
- Are costs and expenses extra?
- Do you require a retainer fee before we start?
Consulting with a Dallas Workers’ Compensation Attorney
All these questions can be asked at your initial consultation with an attorney. The consultation is your first meeting with a lawyer you may hire, and there is usually no charge. You may have more than one consultation if you are considering several lawyers.
At the consultation, you’ll tell the attorney about your claim, get his first impressions and ask your questions. Be sure to write down these questions and any others you have before your meeting. Write down the answers and opinions of each Dallas workers' compensation attorney.
When all your consultations are complete, review your notes. Ask yourself:
- Which attorney had the best experience?
- Which attorney made me feel the most comfortable?
- Which attorney understood my case the best?
- Which attorney’s fee structure made sense?
In short, you’re deciding which lawyer is the best overall match for you and your claim. You may find that one attorney is a clear choice, but if you don’t, you can always get more information. Ask the attorneys you’re considering for client references, and get the opinions of each. Combine their impressions with your own, and choose the Dallas workers’ compensation attorney that’s right for you.