If you’ve been injured on the job, you probably have a lot of questions about what comes next. Having a competent attorney by your side as you navigate the workers’ compensation system will certainly help clarify the process – but do you really need to hire an attorney? And if you do, how do you find one with the experience necessary to handle your claim?
To guide you in making a decision you feel good about, here’s a list of the top eight questions you should ask both before and after you hire a workers’ comp attorney.
QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU HIRE A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYER
Before you start working with an attorney, here are a few questions you should ask yourself – and them – to ensure they’re the right fit for your case:
1. DO I NEED A LAWYER FOR A WORKERS’ COMP CLAIM?
Not all workers’ comp claims will require assistance from a lawyer. If the injury was clearly work-related, you don’t require extensive medical treatment or time off of work, your employer is honest and trustworthy, and you don’t have any permanent injuries, then you may not need a lawyer. In most other circumstances, you probably do.
2. WHEN SHOULD I CALL AN ATTORNEY FOR WORKERS’ COMP?
Ideally, you should contact a workers’ comp attorney right away; waiting too long could potentially jeopardize your entitlement to certain benefits. Connecting with an attorney as soon as the injury occurs will help ensure you take all correct and necessary steps in filing your claim, right from the beginning.
3. HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE SHOULD AN ATTORNEY HAVE WITH WORKERS’ COMP CASES?
Because workers’ compensation is a specialized area of law, it’s crucial to hire a lawyer who has extensive experience representing injured workers. When interviewing potential workers’ comp attorneys, ask how many years they’ve been in the business, how many clients they’ve taken on, and what their rate of success is in winning workers’ comp settlements.
4. WHAT DOES IT COST TO HIRE A WORKERS’ COMP ATTORNEY?
Always ask about attorney’s fees. Most workers’ compensation lawyers work on contingency – meaning they don’t get paid unless you get paid. Find out upfront what percentage of your settlement they’ll collect when you win.
QUESTIONS TO ASK AFTER YOU’VE HIRED A WORKERS’ COMP ATTORNEY
Once you’ve hired an attorney, it’s important to understand what’s happening at every step of your case. Here are some questions to ask a workers’ comp lawyer during your first meeting:
5. WHAT WORKERS’ COMP BENEFITS AM I ENTITLED TO?
In California, workers’ compensation provides five basic benefits: medical care, temporary disability, permanent disability, supplemental job displacement, and death benefits. After reviewing the details of your case, your attorney will be able to tell you exactly which benefits you’re entitled to.
6. CAN I SUE A THIRD PARTY?
If someone besides your employer caused the accident or situation that resulted in your injury, they may be liable for their actions. An experienced lawyer can tell you whether you’re eligible to file claims against a third party for additional compensatory damages.
7. WILL MY WORKERS’ COMP CASE GO TO TRIAL?
The vast majority of workers’ comp cases settle before going to trial. However, if your claim is denied or your employer refuses to provide the benefits to which you’re entitled, it’s more likely that you’ll have a hearing.
8. WHEN WILL MY WORKERS’ COMP CASE SETTLE?
Many injured workers have questions to ask an attorney about settlement – such as how long it will take, when it will happen, and how much you will receive. Unfortunately, there are no one-size-fits-all answers to these questions. Some cases take months to settle, while others take years. Your workers’ comp attorney will be able to give you some idea of what to expect as you move forward together.
EXPERT WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEYS IN SAN DIEGO, CA
If you have questions to ask before settling a workers’ comp case – or before you make the call to hire an attorney – the team at The Law Office of Matthew Russell is here to answer them. With over 45 collective years representing injured workers in San Diego, we’re comfortable handling any workers’ comp case.
For more information on how we can help, call us at (619) 544-1506