Top Workers’ Comp Lawyers
Top Workers Comp Lawyers: What Should You Look for in a Workers’ Comp Lawyer?
If you have suffered a serious work-related injury or illness, it is almost always a good idea to hire an attorney to handle your workers’ compensation claim and ensure that you get all the benefits to which you are entitled. But you need to find an attorney with great expertise and vast experience in workers’ comp. Because this area of the law is complex and highly specialized, injured workers are generally not well served by attorneys who try to dabble in workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to distinguish the top workers comp lawyers from the dabblers. Television commercials, billboards, Internet marketing, and print ads often contain more style than substance.
The most reliable indicators of a quality workers’ comp attorney — depth of knowledge, years of experience, attention to detail, and trustworthiness — are seldom apparent in an advertisement. While it might take some extra effort to find the right attorney for you, it can make all the difference in your case.
To learn how to find a qualified and experienced workers’ comp attorney who can help you get the benefits you deserve, here are some tips to help you in your search.
Finding an Attorney Online: What to Look For
These days more and more injured workers find top workers’ comp lawyers online, including through state bar association’s websites, LegalMatch Directory, Avvo, etc. But particularly if you have identified potential attorneys through popular review sites or online ads, you should do more research before hiring one to represent you.
In particular, you should study the prospective attorney’s website carefully. Look for any or all of the following:
- emphasis on workers’ comp expertise, including years of practice
- membership of professional organizations, such as the Workers’ Compensation Trial Lawyers Association
- articles, blog posts, presentations, or other information about workers’ comp law, or
- testimonials from former workers’ comp clients (you can visit a website such as Avvo that has ratings, client reviews, and disciplinary records for workers’ comp lawyers in every state).
While you should not base your choice of attorney entirely on a website, it can still be a useful indicator of a lawyer’s level of knowledge, professionalism, and experience. Once you decide on one (or a few) firms that interest you, give them a call or submit an inquiry on their website to set up a free initial consultation.
Treat the Initial Consultation as Your Lawyer’s Job Interview
Virtually all top workers’ comp lawyers offer free initial consultations with prospective clients. While your attorney will certainly ask you dozens of questions related to your claim, you should be asking just as many questions.
In addition to allowing the lawyer to review the details of your workplace injury, your first consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney will give you a chance to ask questions about the attorney’s experience. Remember: This is a job interview, and you’re the employer.
Questions to Ask a Workers’ Comp Lawyer
The following questions will help you gauge the attorney’s level of expertise in workers’ compensation:
- How many years have you been handling workers’ compensation claims?
- How much of your practice is devoted to workers’ comp?
- How do you estimate the value of my case? What are the strengths and weaknesses of my case?
- Are you a member of any professional organizations in the field of workers’ compensation law?
- Can you represent me throughout the entire workers’ comp process, including at administrative hearings and appeals, as well as in court if it gets to that stage?
- Will you be working on my case personally, or will legal assistants and paralegals handle the bulk of the work?
- Can you provide me with any references, such as former clients and/or colleagues in the legal community?
- Do you also represent employers and insurance companies in workers’ comp cases, or only injured workers?
- If I call your office with a question about my case, will I speak to you or a legal assistant?
- Can you explain to me how a workers’ compensation claim proceeds through the system?
- How do attorneys’ fees work? Will I be charged even if my case is unsuccessful?
- Will I be charged for litigation-related expenses, and if so, what do those expenses include?
- Do you arrange for clients to receive consultative medical examinations with appropriate specialists? Under what circumstances?
Look for an Attorney Who Inspires Confidence and Treats You With Respect
The initial consultation is a great time to evaluate the attorney’s professionalism and demeanor when dealing with clients. A quality attorney will answer all your questions patiently and authoritatively and will listen to and address your concerns.
If you have to meet with three or four (or more) top workers’ comp lawyers before finding one who inspires complete confidence, that is a relatively small price to pay.
Also take note of the attitudes and behavior of the administrative assistants, legal assistants, and paralegals in the office, as you will probably be interacting with them on a regular basis. If they treat you rudely or dismissively or don’t return your calls promptly, feel free to take your case elsewhere.
As your case progresses, your attorney should provide you with periodic updates on the status of your claim. If you rarely hear from your attorney, speak up about your concerns. If that does not help, it may be time to find a new lawyer who will give your case the attention it deserves. (Before you take that step, however, learn about the consequences of switching workers’ comp lawyers during your case.)
Preparing to Meet with a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
One of the most important steps that an employee can take after he or she has been injured on the job is to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
The first meeting with an attorney provides you with a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your workers’ compensation claim as well as the lawyer’s expertise, experience, professionalism, and interest in the case.
What to Bring to the First Meeting with a Workers’ Comp Attorney
You should bring as much information about your workplace injury/illness as possible for the attorney to review at the first consultation. Coming prepared with relevant documents and materials can help the attorney determine whether you have a valid claim.
You may want to consider gathering the following documents:
- A summary of the workplace accident, including the date of the injury
- Employment records indicating the date of hire, position, and job duties
- Recent pay stubs or bank statements, which will help an attorney give you a better estimate of what you can expect to collect in benefits if your claim is approved
- A copy of the written notice provided to your employer
- Emails or letters between you and your employer about your injury claim
- The name and contact information of the supervisor who received notice of your injury and the date the notice was given
- The name and address of the facility where you received treatment for your injury
- Contact information for your treating physician
- The dates of treatment
- Medical records related to your treatment and diagnosis
- Medical bills/medical expenses incurred for treatment
- Photographs of the injury
- A copy of any accident reports created by your employer
- The contact information for any eyewitnesses who saw the accident
Having the above information readily available can help top workers comp lawyers assess your claim and gain a better understanding of the issues that may be involved. The earlier the information is collected, the quicker the claim can proceed.
Once you are satisfied with the attorney’s background and credentials, you may want to discuss strategy. For example, you can ask the lawyer to explain the strengths and weaknesses of your case, discuss whether settlement or mediation is an option, and request an estimate of the value of your claim.
It is also important to discuss fees and costs, including how much the attorney will charge and whether there are other legal expenses related to filing a lawsuit. Asking these questions upfront can help prevent any misunderstandings that could later prove troublesome or expensive.
Workers’ compensation is a complicated area of law. The initial consultation can be helpful in better understanding what filing a workers’ compensation claim will involve and what you should expect.
You may want to ask some or all of the following questions:
- What benefits can I expect to collect if my claim is approved?
- How long will it take before I start receiving benefits?
- How long will I be able to receive benefits?
- How long will it take for a claim to be either denied or approved?
- Can I continue to collect workers’ compensation after I return to work?
- Do I have to be treated by an employer-approved physician?
- What kinds of options do I have if my employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance?
- How long do I have to be out of work to be eligible for replacement of lost wages?
- How much can I expect to receive in wage replacement benefits?
- How long do I have to report an injury?
- What steps am I required to take to be eligible for benefits under a workers’ compensation attorney?
- What happens if I become permanently disabled as a result of the injuries?
- What are my legal options if a third party’s negligence or recklessness caused my accident?
An injured employee will always need to report an injury to his or her employer within 30 days of the workplace accident to be eligible to collect benefits. The number of benefits that you are eligible to receive will depend on your average wage.
Moreover, the length of time that you can collect them will depend on the severity of your injury. That is why it is important to come prepared with specifics about your case when you first meet with a workers’ comp attorney.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation Today
At Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC, we understand that the workers’ compensation claim process can be overwhelming and daunting to many due to its complexity. We are here to help you.
We have a great team of top workers comp lawyers who have completed additional training in workers’ compensation law and are State Board-Certified Specialists in workers’ compensation law by the State Bar of Georgia.
Top Workers’ Comp Lawyers
We can help you with filing your workers’ comp claim so that you get everything right as you navigate the entire process until you get the compensation that you deserve. Don’t feel discouraged or intimidated just because of what people (who are not experts!) say out there about workers’ compensation claims.
We know what it takes to file a successful claim and secure the compensation you’re entitled to. Please do not hesitate to call us at (470) 268-5802 or contact us online to set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation/case review.