Questions to Ask When Hiring a Seattle Workers' Compensation Lawyer
If you’ve been hurt on the job, a Seattle workers’ compensation attorney can help you secure your benefits and move from injury to recovery.
Not all Seattle on-the-job injury attorneys are the same. Different attorneys have different approaches, levels of experience and personalities. Finding a qualified attorney who’s right for you is easy if you know what to look for and what to ask. This article covers some of those important questions.
Topics to Discuss With a Seattle Workers Compensation Lawyer
Before you hire an attorney, you’ll meet with each lawyer you’re considering. This meeting is called an initial consultation and it’s your time to learn about your claim and the lawyer.
Prepare for each consultation by gathering all documents related to your injury, getting ready to take notes and making a list of questions.
When you meet with an attorney for the first time, you should focus on learning as much as possible about his qualifications, personality and legal practice. There are several important question topics that will help you get a complete picture of an attorney.
A Seattle workers’ comp attorney needs to have the right set of legal skills. Questions about an attorney’s experience will help you to determine if the attorney has the background to handle your case. Some important questions are:
- How long have you been a Seattle workers’ compensation lawyer?
- Where did you get your legal training?
- What legal and bar associations have you joined?
- Do you practice in any other areas of law?
- How many workers’ compensation claims have you handled?
- How often are you successful in getting benefits for your clients?
- How familiar are you with the Department of Labor and Industries, the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals and the administrators and staff of each?
- How often do you settle cases, and how often is a hearing or trial required?
Case Assessment and Strategy
A Seattle workers’ comp attorney’s legal approach is important to the outcome of your case. The right strategy gives you the most options and gives you the best chance of success. Questions include:
- What is your opinion of my claim?
- What are the possible outcomes?
- What are my chances of success?
- What are the strong and weak points of my claim?
Case management refers to how your claim is handled by the law firm on a daily basis. Your case may involve a number of people in your lawyer’s firm, and you should understand how your case would proceed. Helpful questions about case management include:
- Will you or another attorney in the firm represent me?
- Who else will be working on my case?
- What will each of them do?
- May I meet everyone involved with my case?
- How often will you update me on my claim?
- Whom may I contact with questions, and how quickly can I expect a response?
Seattle on-the-job injury attorneys normally work on a contingency basis. Contingency means that the attorney only gets paid if your claim is successful. Other fee types are unlikely but possible, so you should clearly understand how the attorney bills. Some important questions are:
- Do you charge a contingency fee or otherwise?
- If you charge a contingency, what percentage do you charge?
- Is the fee charged before or after expenses?
- What do you anticipate your fee will be for my claim?
After Your Consultations
You should choose a Seattle workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after your injury, so when your consultations are complete, take some time to review. Ask yourself:
- Which attorney made me feel the most comfortable?
- Which attorney had the most knowledge and experience?
- Which attorney’s strategy did I agree with?
- Which attorney’s fees were affordable and reasonable?
In short, you should ask yourself which attorney is the overall best match for you and your claim. If you can’t decide, a second opinion may help. Many Seattle on-the-job injury attorneys will provide client references to help you decide. You can contact former clients to get an up-close opinion of each attorney’s practice. Ask the former clients about the good and bad points of each attorney, if they were satisfied and if they’d hire the attorney again.
Compare their answers to your notes and choose the attorney who will represent you the best.