According to OSHA 3 out of every 100 employees suffer a workplace injury each year. If you’ve suffered an injury, then you may wonder if hiring an attorney is something you should do.
Not all injuries require contacting a lawyer. But if you do need an attorney, you want to find the best workers comp lawyer.
Follow our guide to determine if you need to hire an attorney and how to find the best workers’ comp attorney for you.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
If you have suffered permanent loss of a bodily function, then you should probably talk to a lawyer. If the workers’ comp insurance company refuses to pay your claim, you probably need an attorney.
Attorneys can help you when your injuries are severe, and you do not think you can return to work at your current job. They can also help ensure that you receive the correct benefits.
You should consult an attorney if you discover that your employer doesn’t have workers’ comp insurance. Employers can face heavy fines and lawsuits from employees when they don’t carry the correct insurance.
You probably don’t need a lawyer if your injuries are minor and you can go back to work in a few days or weeks. Typically, in these situations, the workers’ comp insurance company will pay for your medical treatment and missed work.
If your expenses are paid and you are fully healed, and back to work then you probably don’t need an attorney.
Why Just Any Personal Injury Lawyer Won’t Do
Personal injury attorneys can help you recover from an injury that happens while not at work. This could be an injury from a car accident, medical malpractice, slip and fall, or dog bite.
You wouldn’t hire an attorney that specializes in car accidents to work on your medical malpractice case. So don’t hire an attorney that specializes in other personal injury claims but isn’t familiar with workers compensation.
Workers compensation claims involve making claims for permanent total or partial disability, temporary disability, medical benefits, wage reimbursement, and vocational rehabilitation.
They are also familiar with workers compensation laws on both a state and federal level. These laws dictate what can be awarded to employees for the harm they suffered.
You can read more here about what is involved in representing clients during personal injury cases.
Start by asking the people you know and trust for their recommendations. These are people that you should be able to trust their experience and opinion.
Do not hire your friend’s cousin’s boyfriend though. You want to make sure that you hire someone who is accomplished and qualified.
If you don’t know anyone who can recommend a worker’s compensation attorney, then online reviews can be a helpful resource. Remember though, people love to write reviews when they are upset, but less often when they have a positive experience. So take reading online reviews with a grain of salt.
When looking for online reviews, you can start with the lawyer’s website, but remember they are only going to use positive reviews. Look for third-party review sources.
Ask any potential attorneys if they can give you the contact information for a former client. Most have a couple that they are willing to let you speak with. This will let you speak to a former client directly and ask any questions that you have.
Do a Consultation
Quality attorneys will offer you a free consultation. While meeting with the attorney pay attention to how engaged the attorney is. You want to work with someone who is committed to your case.
You are going to be working closely with this person, so make sure you can communicate openly and freely with them. Ask them how they intend to communicate moving forward with your case.
At the same time, the attorney is going to evaluate your case. They will want to know the details of what happened, your injuries, and what has transpired since.
There are a few questions you can ask to help you get a better feel for whether or not you want to hire the attorney.
- Will you personally work on my case or someone else?
- If I call with a question, who will I speak with?
- Could you explain the workers’ compensation claim process?
- Can they assist you through the entire claim process including trial?
Decide if you are comfortable with the attorney’s answers and then you can make an accurate decision about whether or not to hire them. It is a red flag if the attorney wants to charge you for a consultation.
Decide what type of communication works well for you. Do you prefer to communicate in person, through phone calls, or email? You want a lawyer who can communicate in the way that works for you.
Beyond this, you want to be sure that while communicating you and your attorney understand each other. Your attorney needs to understand you communicating what happened to you. At the same time, you need to understand the legal process as explained by them.
Hiring a newer lawyer isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But the more years of experience your attorney has, the more likely they are to know how to succeed with your case.
There are a lot of details and intricacies of workers’ comp cases, so you need an attorney who knows how to navigate these details. An experienced lawyer will know how to navigate your case for the best possible outcome.
This could be knowing how to negotiate a settlement. It could also be knowing when negotiations are not working, and it’s time to go to trial.
Ask your potential attorney what sort of credentials they have. Ask if they attend any continuing education courses. Laws change regularly and effective attorneys make sure they are up to date on all of the latest changes.
You could hire the best attorney around, but if the attorney and their office have terrible customer service, then it will be a terrible experience. Pay attention to how you are treated when you call. It is a bad sign if you get the feeling that they are too busy for you, or it takes forever for someone to respond to your message.
While you need to keep in mind that law offices are busy, you should still feel like you are important to them. This means one-on-one personal service.
While getting financial compensation is important, your health should be the priority. Your attorney should agree with this. After all, no amount of money can get your quality of life back if you are permanently injured.
An attorney that puts your health first will be able to recommend doctors and specialists that they have worked with in the past. This can help ensure you get the best medical treatment possible.
Do Your Research
Did you know you can contact the bar association of your state and research a potential attorney? You can find out if they’ve been reprimanded for anything in the past.
Keep this in mind, if you happen to choose a less than reputable attorney, you can report them to the state bar association. The attorney will get investigated, and if warranted, punished.
Winning Track Record
Look for an attorney that has a successful track record. This information might be on the law office’s website. You should also feel free to ask the attorney for this information.
Ask for their track record with cases that are similar to yours. A law firm that has handled many cases similar to yours will have the routine and process down. But at the same time, a law firm that handles a wide variety of cases will have a creative problem-solving approach.
Ask how the attorney charges for their services. While you might find one that charges by the service or by the hour, most charge a percentage of the amount you are awarded.
Ask what is included in the attorney fee. Also, ask what is not included and will be considered an extra charge.
The attorney should have no qualms about being completely transparent with the fees they charge. If an attorney doesn’t want to share this information with you, do not hire them.
Hire the Best Workers Comp Lawyer
When looking for the best workers comp lawyer you want to find one that you feel comfortable with. This is the person that you need to work closely with to fight for the compensation you need to aid in recovering from your workplace injuries.
By doing your due diligence, you can be sure to put yourself in the best possible position.
The best thing to do is to prevent getting hurt in the first place by knowing the importance of safety training in the workplace.