12 Questions to Ask a Workers’ Comp Attorney Before You Hire One
The key to finding the right lawyer for your workers’ compensation case is knowing the right questions to ask a workers’ comp attorney during a legal consultation.
Before we dive into the questions to ask a workers’ comp attorney, it is important to clarify some common misconceptions.
First, you do need a lawyer if you are dealing with a work-related injury.
These cases are tricky, and insurance companies tend to want to avoid paying for anything – even what you rightly deserve.
An experienced workers’ comp attorney will make the entire process easier and fight for you to receive the benefits you are entitled to.
Next, there are some not-so-great lawyers out there who make the rest of us look bad.
Some lawyers are focused solely on their paychecks and others simply aren’t that great at their job.
Just because you have heard about these types of lawyers, you shouldn’t assume this is true for all lawyers.
Finally, you do not have to hire the first lawyer you speak to about your case.
Most workers’ compensation attorneys offer a no-strings-attached, free initial consultation.
Don’t be afraid to talk to multiple attorneys and treat these consultations like lawyer interviews.
Here are 12 questions to ask a workers’ comp attorney to help you find the right person to represent you.
#1 Do you handle workers’ compensation cases often?
One of the main questions to ask a workers’ comp attorney is whether they specialize in workers’ compensation cases.
Ideally, you should hire a workers’ compensation attorney rather than a general lawyer.
A general lawyer tends to dabble in multiple areas of the law, whereas a workers’ comp attorney focuses specifically on workers’ compensation law.
Since workers’ compensation law is tedious and confusing, it is wise to go with someone who not only understands this area of the law but also has vast experience in it.
#2 What sets you apart from other lawyers?
Whenever you interview for a job, it is wise to know what makes you stand apart from the other applicants.
The same thing goes for hiring a workers’ comp attorney.
Asking one of these questions is a great way to learn more about the lawyer to see if they are a good fit as far as personality and experience go.
For instance, I tell potential clients that I was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Florida and Georgia, and I am bilingual in English and Spanish. This makes me unique and sets me apart.
#3 Where can I find client reviews?
Often, people refer their friends and family to lawyers they have worked with or know personally.
Sometimes this works, but sometimes it doesn’t.
For example, someone may recommend a family friend who lacks experience or is rude. Or you may wind up hiring a lawyer who is unfamiliar with workers’ compensation laws.
That’s where client reviews come in. Client reviews are telling and often reveal a great deal about the firm and particular lawyers. Do your due diligence and seek out what past clients have said about their experiences with that attorney.
If an attorney does not make it easy for you to find them, that’s a red flag.
DeMedeiros Injury Law has numerous client reviews throughout our website and online:
#4 How familiar are you with Georgia workers’ compensation law?
It is a proven fact that injured workers represented by experienced workers’ compensation lawyers get significantly more benefits, significantly better benefits, and significantly higher settlements than people who don’t have someone in their corner taking the fight to the insurance company.
The keyword here is “experienced.”
Workers’ compensation law is complicated.
To ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your case, you need to work with an attorney who is not only familiar with Georgia workers’ compensation law but also specializes in it.
If you go with a general attorney, they should have ample experience with workers’ compensation law. However, for best results, always hire an attorney who only specializes in workers’ compensation.
#5 How much is my case worth?
One of the smart questions to ask a workers’ comp attorney that will show whether the attorney is ethical is how much your case is worth.
A trustworthy, ethical attorney will not make promises they can’t keep. That includes promising you’ll get a certain amount of money.
This is because workers’ compensation is not a lawsuit. Workers’ compensation ensures employees can secure benefits as a result of workplace injuries and pays benefits according to Georgia workers’ compensation law.
The focus should be on getting you the benefits you deserve; however, it is virtually impossible to tell you at the beginning of the claim with accuracy how much your case is worth.
Many variables come into play, such as doctors, test results, whether or not your injuries require surgery, and work status.
If someone tries to sell you on guarantees during your first legal consultation, this is a red flag.
#6 Have you represented clients with similar injuries?
While every workers’ comp case is a little different, it is important to work with a lawyer who has handled similar cases or injuries.
For example, the injury you sustained may require a longer time away from work than your employer or doctor is suggesting.
If your lawyer has represented a client with a similar injury, they will fight even harder for you to take the appropriate amount of time off work to heal.
#7 How do you communicate with clients?
If you work with a large firm, there is a possibility you may not deal with your attorney directly. Instead, you will speak to paralegals and case managers.
I take a more personal approach.
I communicate with my clients in a variety of ways, including phone calls, Zoom video, and text messages.
My goal is to make myself as available as possible to my clients.
#8 How do I know you will look out for my best interests?
One of the most important questions to ask a workers’ comp attorney is how you will know they will look out for your best interests.
As I mentioned earlier, there are unscrupulous lawyers out there who are really in it for themselves.
You don’t want that guy representing you.
You want to work with someone who can show you they put people over profits.
When you speak during the initial consultation, the lawyer should give you 100% of their attention and be willing to answer all your questions honestly. You should not be made to feel rushed.
A potential lawyer should also explain how they will prove they are on your team throughout the journey.
For example, I pride myself on keeping clients updated through phone calls, emails, letters, and even text messages. I am always here to talk and answer any questions you may have.
#9 How long have you been practicing?
Again, we can’t emphasize experience enough.
This is not to say newer lawyers are horrible and aren’t capable of doing an okay job.
In fact, we aren’t even suggesting you base your decision on the number of years someone has been a lawyer.
Instead, focus on how long they have been practicing workers’ compensation law.
For example, a general attorney may have more years under their belt, but may lack experience in this particular area of the law.
#10 What is your success rate?
In a perfect world, you want a lawyer who has won every case and has a 100% success rate.
But, that’s not realistic.
Instead, ask potential attorneys directly if they can give you a success rate (such as 40% or 80%).
#11 What can you do for me that I can’t do for myself?
Sometimes people take the DIY route when it comes to workers’ comp. This is a mistake.
These people may have felt as if working with a lawyer would have been unpleasant or a waste of time.
But these employees likely didn’t get all they deserved.
That’s where an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer helps.
Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney not only makes the claim process easier, but also ensures you get the best treatment possible, with the maximum benefits and the maximum settlement at the end of your claim.
#12 How much do you charge?
One of the final questions to ask a workers’ comp attorney is how much you will be charged.
In Georgia, this is 25% of the income benefits or settlement recovered. If you speak to a lawyer who wants to charge you more than that, run away.
If you’ve been injured on the job, contact us today for a free, no-strings-attached consultation.