Choosing a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you’ve had an injury or illness at work, hiring a lawyer is definitely smart. But with workers’ compensation being such a complex and specialized field, it’s crucial you spend time looking for the right legal expert who can really help you maximize the benefits you are entitled to receive.
– if they can recommend some good prospects. You can also source referrals from your state and local bar associations, as well as from legal aid offices.
Certainly, the web can be helpful, but do use it wisely. If you see any attorneys online that seem interesting, find out more about them. Visit their websites and check if they specialize in workers’ comp or if they take many other types of cases. Also give online reviews a look, but don’t veer away from reputable independent websites. There are lots of websites made purely for marketing, so expect their reviews to be fabricated.
When talking to an attorney for the very first time, think of it as a job interview. Nearly all lawyers don’t charge for an initial consultation, so take advantage of this meeting by asking as many relevant questions as possible. Below are good ones:
How much of your professional experience deals with workers’ comp?
Will you help me through the entire process, even when my case goes to court?
Will you handle my case yourself or will a legal assistant or paralegal do most of the work?
How can I communicate with you for updates?
Do you also work with insurers and employers or just with injured/ill workers?
Are you board-certified in workers’ compensation and do you belong to any relevant professional organizations?
What are you fees and how do I pay you? What comes under litigation-related expenses if you will charge them? Do I need to pay you if my case becomes unsuccessful?
The initial meeting is also the best time to assess the lawyer’s professionalism and demeanor around clients. A good attorney will answer all your queries in a patient yet authoritative manner, and will be sincerely interested in your concerns. If the lawyer doesn’t seem interested in what you have to say, there’s no point staying around.
As well, consider the office staff’s behavior, including the legal assistants’ and paralegals’. If they’re such a pain to interact with or if they don’t return your calls or emails promptly, don’t hesitate to take your case elsewhere.
Lastly, don’t think you’re obliged to hire the first lawyer you seem to like. In fact, consulting with two or three more will give you lots of room for comparisons before making your final decision.