Each year, the US records a staggering 4,600,000 work-related accidents from negligence, over-exertion, plus slips and falls. Fortunately, all employers must cover their employees with workers’ compensation insurance that provides benefits for any employee that suffers work-related injuries or illnesses.
In most cases, you’ll need a worker compensation lawyer to take you through your workers’ compensation case. There’s no harm in pursuing the case on your own, but filing for workers’ compensation isn’t such a straightforward process. That’s why it’s so important to find the right work injury lawyer to help you get the settlement you deserve.
The wrong lawyer could jeopardize your chances of getting fair compensation for your work-related injury. Not to mention the proliferation of sham lawyers who’ll swindle you out of your hard-earned cash for nothing.
Keep reading as we highlight a few tips on finding the right work injury lawyer.
Start With Referrals From Friends and Family
Good lawyers make a name for themselves in the local community. So the perfect place to start your workers’ comp lawyer is asking your family or friends. Workmates will be especially quick to point you to a good work injury lawyer.
Great workers comp lawyers don’t have to do much advertising. Referrals and word of mouth are enough to get them all the clients they need. The lawyer you get through a solid referral is likely much better than the one with ads strewn all over.
If you get time, you can also drop by state bar associations and legal aid offices. Inquire if they can give you referrals to one or two good workers’ comp lawyers.
Search for One Online
The easiest and quickest way to find a work injury lawyer is to search for one online. Simple typing “worker compensation lawyer near me” exposes you to hundreds of lawyers for your choosing. However, you should be wary about the lawyers you pick from the internet.
Start by narrowing your search to only a handful of lawyers within your reach, both geographically and financially. After that, you can check out their success rates, client testimonials, and experience with other workers’ comp cases.
If anything looks the least bit suspicious, then look for another lawyer. The Internet is the perfect platform for sham lawyers to swindle unsuspecting clients. Steer clear from anything that looks suspicious like inconsistent statements, spelling errors, or doctored images.
Narrow down your list to a few decent lawyers, then take down their names and any other vital details. Take the names to your state’s bar office to find out whether they are genuine lawyers registered with the bar.
The bar office will also check whether the lawyer you have in mind has infractions on their records. Most states don’t allow lawyer violations to be made public because it may damage the lawyer’s reputation. You, however, have a right to know whether the lawyer you hire has any previous violation that you should be aware of.
If the lawyer checks all the boxes, don’t start celebrating yet. First, send the lawyer an email giving details of the case. That way, the lawyer can confirm whether they’re qualified to handle your case and how they can fit you in the schedule.
Gather the Names of Potential Lawyers
Once you’ve done some digging around, you should have a handful of potential lawyers you can trust to handle your case. That’s all the good lawyers you’ve found online, and also the ones recommended to you by your family and friends. Write down all the lawyer’s name and their contacts before moving to the next step.
Do Your Homework
By now, you should have a list of lawyers you could potentially hire to help you with your case. With this list, you can start your background research to whittle down the list to only a few lawyers for your case. The first place to start your research is by visiting your state’s bar website.
As mentioned earlier, the state’s bar website is where you’ll know whether you have a genuine lawyer or a fraudster in your hands. You can also know whether the lawyer in question is authorized to practice in your particular region. The website should tell you how long the lawyer has been in his/her legal practice.
Most people wouldn’t want to hire a lawyer with previous violations for unethical behavior. Some think it might hurt their chances of winning the case, but that’s not always the case. You can check for any history of ethical misconduct through the website.
Next, head over to the lawyer’s website to continue your research. On the website, look for clients’ testimonials or reviews if you can find them. Testimonials are first-hand accounts of someone else’s experience with the lawyer and could give you a pretty accurate picture of what to expect.
Schedule Consultations With Potential Lawyers
Once you’ve whittled down your list to a handful of lawyers, it’s time to schedule a few consultations. Only schedule consultations with the lawyers that have impressive track records and have positive reviews. The lawyer should be able to make time for a consultation if he/she is serious about your case.
Schedule not one but a few consultations with different lawyers. During the consultation, brief the lawyers about your case, and they should be able to tell you how best they can assist you. Also, ask as many questions as you can during the consultation until you’re 100 percent satisfied.
Will the Work Injury Lawyer Take My Case?
There’s always the question of whether the workers’ comp lawyer will take your case. For most lawyers, their payment is a percentage of the settlement if you win the case. That means, if they lose the case, they don’t get paid.
As such, most work injury lawyers are somewhat picky with what cases they choose to handle. Here are a few things the lawyer might consider before taking up your case.
The Severity of Your Injuries
Most work injury lawyers are hesitant to take up cases involving minor injuries. The lawyers look for moderate to severe injuries or those that require surgery. Insurance companies are likely to brush off minor injuries that could heal in just a few weeks.
Furthermore, more severe injuries tend to attract larger rewards and settlements. That means the lawyer will make more from cases involving severe injuries.
The Type of Injury
Impacts from falls or hits from an object are easier to substantiate in a court of law. If it’s physical injuries you’re dealing with, the lawyer will gladly take up your case. It’s harder to prove cases of over-exertion or chronic conditions that develop over time.
Lawyers will gladly accept cases involving physical injuries with visible signs of injury. Others that involve long-term chronic conditions or conditions with distant connections to work are harder for lawyers to accept.
However, if you have work-related chronic conditions, it doesn’t mean that you should give up altogether. If you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the condition was work-related, then the lawyer will gladly take up your case.
Status of Your Injury
A lawyer is more likely to take up your case if your injury happened much recently. They also prefer to take up your case in the earlier stages so they can have more control over the process. No lawyer wants to handle issues with misfiling or missed deadlines before handling the actual case.
The best time to find a workers’ compensation lawyer is before or shortly after receiving medical treatment. Prolonging the case might increase the chances of you losing crucial evidence, which may ruin your chances of a fair settlement. Lawyers are more inclined to handle recent cases than those from a while ago.
It’s almost impossible for a workers’ compensation lawyer to accept your case if there’s no sufficient evidence to prove your case. Remember, the outcome of your case hinges on how much and how credible the proof of your claim is. Evidence for your claim includes medical records, witness accounts, and photographs, if applicable.
The Right Lawyer Equals a Proper Settlement
The success of your workers’ compensation case primarily depends on the lawyer you choose to handle the case. Before you go looking for a work injury lawyer, make sure you keep the above tips in mind. It’s okay to take your time, but for workers’ compensation cases, the earlier, the better.
There’s more to learn besides how to find the right lawyer for your work injury. For more informative reads, check out the other pieces on the site.