If you’ve been injured in your place of work or the course of your duty, you might have contemplated hiring a lawyer. The worst thing you can do in this situation is pick someone because of an ad you saw on TV, or grandiose statements. Choosing the wrong lawyer could mean that you won’t get the compensation you deserve, or even that your claim will be rejected. Choosing the right lawyer can be difficult to do if you don’t know what to look for, however. Let’s take a look at how you can identify and hire a good workers’ comp attorney.
Build a List and Do Some Background Research
The first thing you should do is gather a list of potential lawyers. You can contact your local bar association, check a directory, or gather a few names of lawyers you may have stumbled upon online. Once you have a shortlist from all these sources, you can start conducting some background research on them.
You have to make sure that they hold a license and that they aren’t under disciplinary action. You should also check if they ever had violations in the past. Most states will allow you to look up lawyers on their state bar website. You’ll also be able to know how long they’ve been practicing and if they have ever had complaints about unethical behavior.
Check Their Expertise
You also have to make sure that your lawyer has the right expertise. You may have a very particular Workers’ Compensation Program because of the kind of industry you’re in, so make sure that they understand it. Ask how many cases they’ve represented that were similar to yours and what kind of results they were able to get.
One example is people working with the federal government. Federal workers’ compensation is different from private workers’ compensation and the procedure for filing is different too. In this case, you should consider going with a lawyer who’s specialized in the federal workers’ compensation system.
Once you have a list of lawyers with a good reputation that can handle your case, it’s time to meet and interview a few of them. Try to get a general sense of the rapport you have with them and how they answer your questions. Also, ask if they will be the ones who will be representing you and check that they’re not just a frontperson.
In most cases, you won’t have to pay for an initial consultation. This can be performed either in person or by phone. If a lawyer can’t give you a meeting within a reasonable timeframe, then they might be too busy to work with you.
Make sure that they’re attentive and that they aren’t simply trying to tell you what want you to hear. Ask them how often and through which methods you can contact them. Ask them about their fee structure as well. Most will take part of the judgment or settlement as payment, so know what the percentage will be in both cases. Know that these can be negotiated too.
These are all things that will allow you to find a lawyer for your workers’ compensation case. They need to have a combination of expertise and chemistry with you, so speak with as many as you can until you find your perfect match.