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Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Texas Workers' Compensation Attorney

If you've been injured in a workplace accident, you may have thought about hiring a Texas workers' compensation lawyer. But how do you find the best attorney to handle your claim? This article will help you identify the right lawyer for your case.

As a Texas worker injured on the job, workers' compensation lawyers will be willing to meet with you in a brief introductory session called an initial consultation. You can accomplish many goals at an initial consultation, including:

  • Learning about a lawyers' background, experience, strategy, and skills
  • Getting valuable feedback as to the strength of your Texas workers' compensation claim
  • Determining whether this lawyer is the one you should hire to represent you

Interviewing Texas Workers' Compensation Lawyers

You should spend some time preparing for your initial consultations, writing down the questions you'll want to ask the lawyers.. This article offers a number of suggested questions you could pose. Select that will help you best decide which attorney to hire. Also, feel free to write additional questions of your own.

You'll want to bring several things with you to the initial consultations, including:

  • Your list of written questions
  • Paper and writing utensils to record the answers and make notes
  • Any documentation you have about your workplace injury, including medical records and bills

Background & Experience

One way to kick off the initial consultations is with questions about the Texas workers' compensation attorney's background. Consider asking questions such as:

  • Where did you attend law school? From what university did you receive your undergraduate degree?
  • How long have you been practicing law?
  • How long have you been representing injured workers in Texas?
  • Do you take any other types of cases? If so, what kind?
  • How many Texas workers' compensation claims do you take each year?
  • How many claims do you settle each year? How often do you appear before Texas workers' compensation administrative panels?
  • Do you belong to any bar associations or professional organizations? If so, which ones?

Legal Philosophy & Style

Whether you are in Houston or Midland or any other part of Texas, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the style and philosophy of the Texas workers' compensation attorneys you interview. Some questions that get to the heart of this topic include:

  • What is your approach or philosophy when it comes to handling Texas workers' compensation claims?
  • How would you describe your style as an attorney?
  • How much decision-making will I do as a client of yours? Will you present me with options and help me choose one, or will you tell me what is the best thing to do?

Assessment of Your Claim

An important component of the initial consultation is getting feedback on how strong your claim is. You'll want to know your chances of collecting from your Texas employer's workers' compensation insurance and how much your benefits might be. Here are some relevant questions to ask:

  • What is your assessment of my Texas workers' comp claim?
  • Do the circumstances of my injuries fall within the guidelines of Texas workers' compensation law?
  • What kind of settlement or award could I expect to receive?
  • Do you see any problems with my claim that may delay it or reduce the total amount of benefits?
  • How likely is it that settlement talks would fail and we would have to go to an administrative hearing?
  • How long will it be before I can see any money?
  • Are alternative dispute methods such as mediation or arbitration a possibility for me?
    • Case Management

      Case management is an important word to understand in the legal world. It means how your case is handled on a daily basis. It's important to understand the specifics involved. If you don't, it could easily lead to misunderstandings. To get a clear picture of the logistics of resolving your Texas workers' comp claim, ask:

      • Are you available to represent me?
      • Will other attorneys work on my claim? If so, who, and what would they do?
      • Will you be the one personally representing me at settlement negotiations or before an administrative board?
      • Who is responsible for managing my claim?
      • Who is my contact person when I have questions about my claim or its progress?
      • What is the preferred method of communication? How quickly would you or your colleagues take to get back to me?
      • Will you be providing regular progress reports? How often, and what would they include?

      Legal Fees

      It probably goes without saying that you need to know how much a Texas workers' comp lawyer will cost you. Some attorneys charge for their time by the hour. Others work on contingency, meaning they will take a percentage of your total settlement or award. Here are some questions that will help you understand the total cost of hiring a lawyer:

      • How do you charge for your time?
      • Do I need to pay an up-front retainer fee?
      • What other expenses will I need to cover? Can you give me an estimate of how much they might cost?
      • Can you show me some examples of how much I will take home after paying out your legal fees and expenses if we settle? If we are successful at an administrative hearing?

      Hiring a Texas Workers' Compensation Attorney

      When you have finished your last initial consultation, it's time to make a hiring decision. If one lawyer stood out particularly well, then your decision is easy. If there were several qualified candidates, then contact some of their previous clients for real-world feedback.

      After so many questions asked of the attorneys, it's time to ask yourself some questions:

        Which attorney seemed to have the most experience in representing workplace injury victims?

      • Which attorney proposed a strategy I believe is most likely to get me the results I want?
      • Which attorney offered an estimate of the benefits I could receive that seems most realistic?
      • Which attorney's fees and expenses seemed most fair and reasonable?
      • Which attorney put me most at ease? Which one could I see myself working side-by-side with for months?
      • In which attorney do I place the most confidence?

      Answer these questions honestly, and they will lead you to your best choice in a Texas workers' compensation lawyer. You can now move forward with your Texas workers' compensation claim.