Workers compensation can be a long process, and it may leave you confused. You should ask workers comp attorneys these questions.
Did you know that the average workers’ compensation case takes around 16 months—1 year and 4 months—to settle? It can be one of the most stressful situations that you’ll ever experience in your career.
The uncertainty of it all. The fact that you and your family’s financial stability depends on it. It can sometimes feel like too large of a burden to bear. That’s why it’s important to find the right workers comp attorney to represent you.
See below for several questions that you should as workers comp attorneys to find the right fit. Be sure to use them all as you search for your lawyer.
1. Who Do You Feel Is Responsible for My Injury?
Many workers’ compensation cases, and personal injury cases, aren’t pursued because the injured employee feels that if their employer wasn’t at fault, there’s no one to blame. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
For example, say you were injured on the work floor when a forklift malfunctioned and dropped a heavy box on top of your foot. Many workers think “it was an unlucky accident” when, in reality, it may have been due to the negligence of a manufacturer.
In fact, several different parties might be at fault for your personal injury case. It could be due to a negligent coworker, faulty manufacturing, or a negligent building owner.
Tell the workers comp attorney your entire story and ask them who they think might be at fault for your injury. From there, you can work to gather evidence to support this claim.
2. How Should I Handle This Case Moving Forward?
To get the compensation that you’re entitled to, you have to follow the correct application process. One false move and your hopes of receiving compensation could go out the window.
Your top priority should always be your personal health. Seek medical attention for your injuries or illnesses first and foremost.
After that, make sure that you report the event (and all of your injuries) to your employer as soon as possible. In the state of Massachusetts, you have up to 4 years to file a claim after the injury or work-related illness has been diagnosed.
Next, gather all medical documentation that you need and report the injury/illness to your employer. They’ll give you the proper paperwork to file a claim under their insurance provider.
Once you’ve done all that, it’s time to hire an attorney and ask for their direction on the process moving forward. Ideally, you should be able to prioritize your recovery while they take over communication with the insurance company and oversee your case.
3. Do You Have Experience in Workers’ Comp Cases?
This is a vital component to finding the right lawyer for your case. Experience is the number one teacher in the world of law. You want to make sure your attorney has years of practice before they represent your case (and livelihood).
Ask any attorney that you talk to about how many workers’ comp cases that they have represented in the past. You can also ask these follow-up questions:
- How many of them had similar injuries to mine?
- How much compensation did you have them pursue? Did they get it?
- How long did the settlement take for their specific cases?
- What’s the longest that a settlement has taken for a client you represented?
- Do you specialize in personal injury cases?
- Have any of the workers’ comp cases you’ve represented gone to trial?
Don’t be afraid to share specific details of your story. All of your statements are covered under attorney-client privilege. As long as your information is intended to be confidential, it falls under the umbrella of this privilege.
4. Will You Be Working With Me Directly?
You’d be surprised how many lawyers don’t work on a one-by-one basis with their clientele. In fact, many law firms have paralegals to oversee your case and handle the different components of it.
It’s also well-documented that certain lawyers hand things like paperwork off to interns and associates in their office. Even though you’re paying for the attorney’s skills, you’ll risk receiving the error-filled work of an inexperienced worker at their firm.
Don’t leave that up to chance. Ask any lawyer you talk to whether or not they will be working with you directly. How much of your case will they oversee? Do they delegate any tasks to others at their firm?
Keep in mind that there isn’t a correct answer. Ideally, the lawyer will handle a majority of the workload in your case, if not all. Whether or not you’re comfortable with other employees at their firm chipping in is up to you to decide!
5. Does My Accident Qualify for Workers’ Comp?
Perhaps you’re wondering if your injury or accident even qualifies you for workers’ compensation. Maybe you are curious if it’s severe enough to warrant legal action. If so, then you should ask the workers’ comp lawyer for their input.
Many common workplace accidents qualify for workers’ compensation insurance. These include:
- Slips and Falls
- Struck-Against Injuries
- Struck-By Injuries
- Repetitive Motion Injuries
- Falling Injuries
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Electrocution Accidents
- Confrontation Injuries
Workers’ compensation-related injuries and illnesses include things like:
- Broken Bones
- Airborne Illnesses
- Torn Ligaments
- Spinal Injuries
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Brain Injuries
- Mental Trauma
- Depression & More
When you describe your situation and illnesses/injuries to a workers’ comp attorney, they’ll put you into the category that best describes your accident. This will dictate how you go about compiling evidence and building your case.
6. What Is Your Success Rate?
If you didn’t think that lawyers keep track of their statistics, think again. Those that have high success rates are happy to share them with their clientele. Those that don’t will rarely flaunt them and will try to actively avoid the conversation.
Be sure to ask any workers’ comp attorney that you speak with about their success rate with workers’ comp cases. Generally speaking, you want to find someone that has no lower than a 70-percent success rate. This will help you feel confident in their skill set and the instructions they give you in your case.
Of course, it’s all up to your personal preference as well. No matter what percentage they give you, you need to have them back it up. Ask them to tell you about some of their most successful cases, what they did differently, and how it can help your case.
7. How Will You Prioritize My Recovery?
You should always make sure that your workers’ comp attorney prioritizes your health and recovery over everything else. Remember, the compensation you’re searching for is meant to protect your medical expenses and financial future.
For that reason, you need to ask how the attorney plans to prioritize your recovery while they represent you. What advice can they give you? How will they help you balance your medical needs with being actively involved in the case?
A reputable lawyer will take the reins so that you can focus solely on getting back to 100-percent. They’ll keep you informed on every step of the process and only pull you in when it’s necessary.
To prepare for a long-term settlement, you should consider applying for pre-settlement funding. It can help you cover your medical expenses in the short-term. You only have to pay it back if you win your settlement. If not, you don’t owe them a penny.
8. How Can I Keep in Contact With You?
You should never be left in the dark with your own case. You have to make sure that the workers’ comp lawyer you hire prioritizes keeping you in the loop.
Ask them what their preferred methods of contact are. Do they prefer to keep in touch by phone? Are they more accessible by email? How can you reach out to them when you have a question?
There isn’t necessarily a correct form of communication. It’s entirely up to what you’d prefer. For example, if you’d prefer to find a lawyer you can text whenever you have a question, communicate that interest to all that you speak with.
Find the Right Workers Comp Attorneys for Your Case
Now that you have seen an in-depth list of questions to ask workers’ comp attorneys, be sure to use them all during your search.
Make sure that you visit this page to read up on our services and how we can help you replace your lost wages with a workers’ comp claim.
For more inquiries, please be sure to reach out via our contact us page and we will be happy to assist you further!