A workers' compensation attorney represents employees, employers, or insurance companies for potential work-related injuries. Once the decision is made to contact an attorney, choosing the best workers’ compensation attorney for a particular case is quite important. There are several factors that must be considered, such as whether the attorney typically represents the employee or the employer and how the attorney handles her fees. Other considerations may include the amount of experience she has, how she is regarded by other clients and attorneys in her field, and how she relates to potential clients upon an initial meeting.
The first step in choosing the best workers' compensation attorney is to research whether a particular attorney or law firm generally represents the employee, the employer, or the insurance company. It would be rare and possibly unethical for an attorney to represent both employees and employers in her legal practice. Many lawyers who represent employers, however, also represent employers’ insurance companies. There generally are many more attorneys that represent employees than there are that represent employers and insurance companies.
Next, a potential client should ask her prospective lawyer for a copy of the retainer agreement. In most cases, a good workers' compensation attorney will sit down and review the agreement with a potential client as well. In general, there are laws that set how much money a workers' compensation attorney can collect if she wins a case. The attorney can also charge a fee for the work she completed if the case is settled without going to trial. Costs, such as fees for court reporters, photocopies, legal research, medical records, and expert witnesses, may also be collected from the clients.
It is also important to select a workers' compensation attorney who has plenty of experience in the field of workers’ comp. Word-of-mouth is a great way to learn more about an attorney. Potential clients should ask their family and friends, particularly if they practice law, if they know about a specific lawyer. At a minimum, the lawyer should be in good standing with her local bar association as well.
Another way to find out information on a potential workers' compensation attorney is to look up information online. For example, check the lawyer’s Web site if she has one. Also, use online search engines to see if there are any reviews from past clients on legal-related Web sites. If a particular client was displeased with her attorney, she may have vented her frustrations online. In addition, there may be legal articles that the lawyer had written and information about important cases or clients represented by the attorney online, giving potential clients a feel for the lawyer’s level of expertise.
One of the greatest ways to select the best workers' compensation attorney is to consider how the attorney relates to her potential client at the initial consultation. If she is distracted, does not seem to understand the issues surrounding the case, cannot answer simple legal questions, and cannot explain basic legal concepts, she may not be the best lawyer for the job. In addition, if the lawyer or her staff are rude, irresponsible, or unprofessional, other firms should be explored. If a potential client follows her instincts, she will usually select the best lawyer for her case.