If you have been out of work due to a work-related illness or injury, or you are back at work and have a long-term disability, then you are eligible to submit a workers compensation claim and seek financial compensation.
Even if you have already submitted a claim, by having a workers compensation lawyer represent you and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, you are more likely to get the entitlements and benefits that you deserve.
The good news? Hiring a workers compensation lawyer costs less than you think. And the amount you pay – which can range anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of the settlement – comes out of the final settlement, not your own pocket. Best of all? If you lose the case then you don’t pay a single cent.</p.
Of course, choosing the right compensation lawyer is vital to the success of your case. That’s why we’ve compiled this helpful guide to show you what to look for in a professional, trustworthy, and reliable workers compensation lawyer. After reading this, you will have all the info you need to find the right person for the job.
Are They a Specialist or a Generalist?
Some compensation lawyers specialise in a particular field or industry. For example, one may only handle motor vehicle injury claims or public liability claims. While other compensation lawyers may handle a variety of claims.
The obvious benefit to hiring a workers compensation lawyer is they are solely dedicated to that field. So they most likely have more in-depth knowledge and experience that a general compensation may lack.
What does this mean for you? Well, for starters, they may be able to better judge your likelihood of success based on prior experience. They may also be more accurately calculate the value of your settlement money, by taking into account your functional limitations, your future medical treatment needs, and other important factors a general compensation lawyer may miss.
One downside to hiring a dedicated workers comp lawyer is the cost. Since they have a stronger negotiating power, they will most likely be able to raise the amount of settlement money you receive. But this also means they are entitled to a larger percentage of your final settlement. You will have to decide whether the potential for a higher settlement will justify the higher legal cost.
Another potential drawback is the ‘narrow scope’ of a specialist. You see, just because you are entitled to a workers’ compensation claim, this does not mean you are not entitled to other personal injury claims. When you hire a compensation lawyer with a broad range of legal experience, they can advise you on other areas of law and make you aware of other claims you may be eligible for.
Are They Experienced?
Before you hire a workers compensation lawyer, find out how long they have been in practice for. You should also find out what kind of clients they typically work with, average success rate, and whether they handle cases outside of workers compensation. By gathering this information, you will have a clear idea on their skills, experience, and level of competency.
There are a few ways you can gather this information. The first step is to check out their website. Read up on the kind of services they offer along with case studies and testimonials from past clients. If you cannot find all these details on their website, check their social media pages or an online directory like the Yellow Pages or True Local. If their business is listed on any of these sites they may have some extra info and honest reviews from past clients.
Of course, you can always call up and ask these questions in person. Most workers compensation lawyers offer free consultations as well. This will give you the opportunity to learn more about them and ask all the questions you desire.
What Are Their Qualifications?
Obviously, any lawyer you hire should have the proper qualifications. But exactly what qualifications should you look for?
This becomes crucial if you step into a larger firm. In larger firms it is common practice to have the initial consultation with an Accredited Specialist (who may not be the lawyer who actually handles your case). This makes it harder to gauge exactly who is going to handle your case, how they will do it, and whether they are skilled and capable.
Different states and territories have different requirements in regards to who can practice compensation law. So you should refer to the exact geographic region that is most relevant to you. Generally speaking though, your workers compensation lawyer must complete either a Juris Doctor (JD) or Bachelor of Law (LLB), and completed practical legal training through a Legal Admissions Board. On top of this, they should have completed relevant units in relation to compensation law.
Of course, just because a compensation lawyer has the right qualifications that does not mean they are an instant perfect fit for you. Take the time to gather evidence of their real-world experience and read testimonials from satisfied customers.
Doing this can really mean the difference between hiring a competent lawyer and an experienced workers comp lawyer who will properly handle your case.