At the beginning of your case, before you hire a particular attorney, consider exactly what kind of lawyer you're looking for. Then, when you find someone who fits the criteria, interview them. An initial meeting with an attorney often is called an initial consultation. This would be the time to ask a lot of questions and make sure they're a good fit for you and your case. Here are ten things we recommend asking an attorney before you agree to be their client.
- How much of your practice is workers' compensation? Ideally, the answer will be 100%, meaning that the attorney handles only work injury cases. If not, it should at least be the vast majority of what they do.
- Have you handled cases with similar facts and similar injuries? You certainly don't want your lawyer to be learning the ropes with your case. Make sure they have handled your type of case in the past, preferably many times.
- How will we communicate? This should give you some insight into the attorney's communication style. Ask whether they prefer that you contact them by phone or email. Also, request that they call you with any significant changes or progress in your case and email you periodically with status updates.
- Who will handle my case? If you've gone through the trouble of finding an experienced workers' compensation attorney, make sure they aren't going to pass off your case to a new attorney at their firm. Insist that an experienced attorney handle your case.
- How will you be paid? Most workers' compensation attorneys charge a contingency fee, which is a percentage. Ask what their fee comes out of. Make sure you understand what and when you are paying, and if you decide to hire that attorney, get the agreement in writing.
- Will I pay for the costs related to my case? Ask whether these are paid by you or the attorney. This is not the attorney's fee, but rather the costs that come up along the way, such as filing fees or expert witness fees.
- What is the best strategy for my case? The attorney should be able to describe to you how they can help and what they can do, before you agree to hire them. After explaining your situation, ask about strategy and possible outcomes.
- Are you familiar with the local judge or arbitrator who will likely hear my case? If there is a dispute in your case, there will be a hearing and possibly a trial. You want an attorney who has tried cases before the judge or arbitrator before and who is familiar with their tendencies and style.
- Is there anything that I'm not considering? Make sure your conversation is thorough. Ask whether there is more information you should have before moving forward.
- What can I do to help my case? An experienced attorney will have a good answer to this question. You and your attorney should work as a team. They might ask you to help gather medical records or write down what happened when you were injured, for example.
We recommend attorneys based on their experience, their past success and whether they would be a good fit for you. If you would like a referral, give us a call at 1 (800) 807-9530 or fill out our online form. We do not charge a fee for our service.