Whether you’re dealing with a denied workers’ compensation claim or just want to ensure everything happens smoothly when filing your claim, hiring a workers’ compensation attorney is always a good idea. However, choosing your lawyer can be a difficult process, which is why we’ll explore the top factors to consider when hiring one.
- The Right Amount of Experience
You should always hire an attorney with many years under their belt. While 5+ years of experience don’t always translate into a better success rate, it’s often a major contributing factor. However, it’s also a good idea to make sure that an attorney has experience dealing with cases similar to yours. While most workers’ compensation claims and lawsuits follow the same pattern, some require more specialized legal knowledge and strategies. For example, dealing with a medical condition like cancer due to a workplace versus a broken bone.
- Satisfied References and Testimonies
Many law offices have online reviews, which can be an excellent way to start. However, just like going to your local Thai restaurant, online reviews may not tell the full story. Unlike eating out, legal matters require much more due diligence. You should speak directly to satisfied clients the lawyer has represented in the past. An attorney hesitant to provide you with satisfied testimonies or references is an immediate red flag.
- If They Have Enough Time to Devote to Your Case
Attorneys are often busy, and it’s not uncommon for many attorneys to work more than 40 hours per week. Some attorneys put in 80 hours per week, while the average workload for a full-time lawyer falls around 49 hours per week. As such, there’s a good chance that you won’t be an attorney’s only client. Make sure that an attorney has enough time to devote to your case.
- They Should Be Willing to Go to Court
While TV shows and movies glamorize the courtroom, most non-criminal cases are settled outside the courtroom. This fact is no exception for workers’ compensation claims, as the vast majority never fall before a jury or judge. Still, sometimes cases do make it to the courtroom when an employer or their insurance is unwilling to budge or offer a reasonable settlement. Any attorney you hire shouldn’t be afraid to go to trial, even if the chances of a trial are slim.
- You’re Able to Easily Communicate With Your Lawyer
Many workers’ compensation cases take around a year to settle, and while this number can depend on many factors—like an employer’s willingness to negotiate—you can expect a case to take a while. During this time, you’ll be communicating with your attorney quite often, and you want to ensure that you feel comfortable engaging with them. Whenever choosing to hire an attorney, see how they talk and if they’re able to answer questions you have in a straightforward non-confusing manner.