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In 2018, the number of workplace fatalities surpassed 5,000, not to mention the countless injuries suffered on the job. If you find yourself injured, it’s crucial to secure the services of the best workers’ comp lawyer to ensure your rights are protected.

So, what should you consider when choosing a workers’ comp lawyer? Here are five essential tips to help you find the best attorney for your case:

Prioritize Experience

While it might be tempting to opt for a cheaper lawyer, it’s essential to consider their experience level. Will they truly advocate for your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your workplace injury?

Given the complexities of securing workers’ comp benefits, opting for an experienced attorney is paramount. Seasoned lawyers possess the knowledge and tactics necessary to maximize your compensation.

While prioritizing experience is ideal, don’t discount a lawyer with fewer years under their belt if they seem like the right fit. Instead, ask pertinent questions to gauge their expertise and inquire about their past clients’ experiences.

Assess Their Track Record in Past Trials

Experience is valuable, but it’s not the sole determinant of success. It’s crucial to delve deeper into a workers’ compensation attorney’s track record in past trials.

While not all attorneys may disclose their success rates due to legal constraints, it’s a vital aspect to consider. Some legal regulations prohibit lawyers from sharing this information. However, if a lawyer willingly shares their success rate, it indicates transparency and adherence to professional guidelines.

Inquire About Their Caseload

Understanding the workload of a potential workers’ compensation attorney is essential. Knowing how many cases they’re currently handling provides insight into their availability and ability to dedicate sufficient time to your case.

An attorney overstretched with numerous cases might struggle to give yours the attention it deserves. Adequate time and effort are crucial for advocating effectively on your behalf and maximizing your chances of a favorable outcome.

While a highly-rated attorney may still secure compensation despite a heavy caseload, delays may occur due to competing priorities. If time constraints aren’t a concern for you, and the attorney’s reputation aligns with your needs, they could still be a suitable choice.

Inquire About Their Communication Preferences

When dealing with any legal matter requiring a lawyer, effective communication is essential. It’s important to understand how they prefer to communicate, the frequency of updates, and their preferred mode of communication.

Each lawyer has their own unique communication style. Some may prefer texting for quick updates, while others may opt for phone calls or detailed emails. Some lawyers may provide brief daily updates via text, while others may consolidate information for a comprehensive email or phone call every few weeks.

While the communication style of your workers’ comp lawyer may not be a top priority for everyone, it’s still crucial to clarify their communication methods before making a decision.

Assess Your Personal Connection

Although it might seem unconventional, evaluating your personal connection with a workers’ comp lawyer is significant.

Consider the scenario of having a lawyer representing you with whom you don’t have a good rapport. Or envision working with an attorney who doesn’t quite mesh with your personality.

In such situations, it’s unlikely that they’ll prioritize your case effectively. Therefore, it’s important to engage in several conversations or meet them in person to ensure there’s a mutual understanding and rapport. Ultimately, your lawyer is advocating for you, so establishing a connection that fosters trust and collaboration is paramount.

Selecting the Right Attorney for Your Needs

Insurance companies and third-party administrators often have a pre-approved list of law firms they work with. While this limits the options for where a case can be handled, it does offer the flexibility to work with various attorneys within a single firm.

Shareholders/Partners: These are typically seasoned attorneys who have extensive experience in the field. They possess a deeper understanding of the law and have encountered various case scenarios. However, their services often come at a higher billing rate due to their expertise.

Associates: Associates are younger attorneys who are still gaining experience in the field. They usually work under the guidance of shareholders or partners and may not handle as many cases directly. Associates have lower billing rates compared to shareholders/partners, reflecting their level of experience.

It’s important not to overlook the option of working with an associate within a defense firm. These individuals represent the future of the legal profession and can provide diligent defense with the guidance of experienced mentors within their firm.

Ensure Value for Work Done

Every member of the claim management team must uphold the standard of demanding value from the defense counsel. The files referred to the defense are of utmost importance. When reviewing invoices for legal services, consider the following questions:

  • Did the attorney adhere to file handling instructions and parameters? If your guidelines prohibit “block billing,” ensure they are followed rigorously.
  • Is the attorney delivering fair service for the tasks undertaken? Evaluate whether certain tasks assigned to attorneys could be efficiently handled by legal assistants. Additionally, scrutinize the involvement of associate attorneys and the number utilized for a particular file.
  • Is the attorney actively working towards advancing the file and facilitating settlement? It’s essential to steer clear of excessive and unnecessary litigation, prioritizing efforts towards resolution.

Establish Clear Expectations:

Insurance carriers and third-party administrators typically have predefined parameters outlined in agreements with defense firms. These parameters cover maximum billing rates, billing procedures, miscellaneous expenses related to claim defense, and other specific requirements. Before entrusting a claim to an attorney, it’s crucial to assess how closely they adhere to these parameters.

Consider Key Factors:

Several essential factors warrant consideration before assigning a claim to an attorney.

  • Acknowledgment of File: An attorney’s response to a new file referral provides insights into their attitude and work ethic. Prompt responses with personalized notes indicate motivation and commitment.
  • Defense Budgeting: Require the attorney to create a budget detailing anticipated and unforeseen expenses. A proactive attorney will comply, keeping the claim handler informed of any additional expenses as they arise.
  • Regular Status Reporting: Insist on frequent and consistent status reports. These reports should be provided quarterly or following significant events such as depositions or medical examinations. They should contain new claim facts, legal analysis, and recommendations for further action, aiding proper documentation.

Forge Relationships:

Take opportunities to build rapport with attorneys. Invite them to speak at claim team events or seek their advice on avoiding litigation. These interactions provide valuable insights into their suitability and alignment with your organization’s ethos and approach.