4 Things You Should Ask Before You Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you’ve been injured on the job, you’re probably going to need to hire an attorney to handle your workers’ compensation claim. This can seem like an overwhelming task, especially during a time when you may be experiencing a lot of pain and have limited mobility. You might be tempted to put off hiring an attorney to represent your interests until later. You also might be tempted to just go it alone and handle your claim yourself. After all, how are going to find the attorney who’s right for you when there are so many to choose from?
Giving in to these temptations might be the biggest mistake you could make. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can mean the difference between obtaining the compensation you deserve and obtaining less than you’re entitled to, or even nothing. Finding the right attorney is easier than you think. Here are four questions that you can ask which will help you hire a workers’ compensation attorney who will bring your claim to a successful conclusion.
1. What kind of experience do you have representing injured workers?
Obtaining full compensation for your injuries is obviously important to you. That’s why you need to choose an attorney who has real, in-depth experience in California’s workers’ compensation law. It’s that experience that will enable your attorney to get every penny available to you under the law. You don’t want an attorney who dabbles in workers’ compensation, taking a case here and there. You want someone who has built a solid practice in this area of law, someone who deals with workers’ compensation issues and clients on a regular basis.
You also don’t want someone who just started practicing worker’s compensation law. Learning law in school is one thing, practicing that law in the real world is another. A seasoned workers’ compensation attorney has had the years of experience in workers’ compensation law that is necessary to bring your workers’ compensation claim to a successful conclusion. So, when you’re looking for an attorney to handle your claim make sure that you choose one who has made a career specializing in workers’ compensation law.
2. Will you be available to answer any questions I have about my workers' compensation case?
While your workers’ compensation claim is pending, you’re going to have questions and you’re going to have concerns. When you have question or concerns about your claim, you deserve to have them answered promptly and completely. After all, your attorney works for you.
You want to hire an attorney to handle your workers’ compensation claim who understands his or her client’s needs. You see, your attorney is experienced in the law and procedure that surrounds the typical workers’ compensation claim. They handle claims like yours for a living. They understand what’s going on and why. For you, everything is new. You don’t understand what’s going on. You are anxious about the outcome. You have worries about what might happen. It’s completely normal to have these feelings.
A good attorney appreciates your feelings. They realize that you do not have the same depth of knowledge about the process of adjudicating your claim that they do. They recognize that handing over the control of something as critically important as a workers’ compensation claim to someone else is difficult, no matter how experienced that other person may be. They work to quiet your fears and worries by personally answering all of your questions when they arise. They return your calls promptly. They make themselves available. They do not treat you like a number.
3. How will you handle my workers' compensation claim?
You’re not a lawyer. That’s why you’re in the market to hire one in regard to your workers’ compensation claim. Yet, even though you’re not a lawyer, you still have a right to know how the lawyer you do hire plans to handle your claim. It’s your right to know what the game plan is for your claim. You want your attorney to let you know what’s going to happen and fill you in about potential problems and pitfalls before they occur. A good attorney will let you know how long it will take to resolve your claim and how much you claim is potentially worth before you have to ask.
This is a different thing entirely from the availability issue that we just discussed. This is more than just answering the questions that you have. It’s about treating you as a partner in the process and educating you on what will happen as things move forward. A good attorney knows that teaching a client about the realities of their case is the only way to practice law.
4. How much will it cost if I hire you to be my workers' compensation lawyer?
Cost is an important issue when it comes to hiring any professional for a job. Hiring an attorney is no exception. In many cases, people worry that they cannot afford to hire an attorney. In some cases, this fear prevents people from moving forward and getting the representation they need. When it comes to workers’ compensation law, these worries and fears are groundless.
You see, workers’ compensation attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means that they don’t get paid unless your claim is successful and you receive compensation for your injuries. If your claim is unsuccessful, you owe them nothing for their time. This means that you can hire a competent and experienced workers’ compensation attorney to handle your claim and not have to worry about paying upfront or hourly fees.
When your claim comes to a successful conclusion your attorney will receive no more than 15% of the amount of compensation that was awarded to you. The remainder of the award goes to you. This type of contingency fee arrangement is designed to allow anyone, at any income level, to have access to high-quality legal advice and help.