If you’ve been injured on the job, and you plan to file a workers’ compensation claim, it’s a good idea to hire a workers’ compensation attorney to work with you on your claim. Hiring an attorney can sometimes make the difference between having your claim approved, or if it is denied, making a successful appeal.
You want to make sure you hire the right workers’ compensation lawyer. Many legal firms in Pennsylvania will advertise that they work on workers’ compensation cases, but you need to find the right attorney for you and your case. Hiring the wrong attorney can have a huge impact on your family’s future and whether you struggle financially or can maintain your family’s lifestyle.
Recommendations for Finding the Right Lawyer
Looking for the right lawyer to help you with your workers’ compensation case is a bit like finding the right person to paint your house or fix your furnace. You need to do your homework. You don’t necessarily want to hire the first lawyer you interview unless you have a tremendously positive feeling from that interaction. In most cases, you’re going to need to interview three or four lawyers before you find the right one.
1. Ask Your Family, Friends or Neighbors
If you’re starting from scratch in your search for the right workers’ compensation lawyer, the best place to start looking is to ask your friends, family or neighbors for recommendations. Even if they’ve never filed a workers’ compensation claim, they may know someone from work or have a family member who has done so in the past and has had a positive experience with a particular law firm.
While the airwaves can seem filled with commercials from law firms who specialize in this area of the law, many good firms don’t advertise. But if you talk to someone who has made a workers’ compensation claim, it’s likely they will know a law firm with a good track record regardless of whether they advertise.
When you’re asking friends or family members or colleagues for recommendations on workers’ compensation lawyers, don’t discuss the facts of your case with them. Workers’ compensation insurance companies can be quite tricky. Once you have filed a workers’ compensation claim, they will often interview your friends, families or colleagues. If you have said something different to them than what you may have written in your workers’ compensation claim, even if it’s a small detail, they will try to use that to prevent you from getting the benefits to which you are entitled.
2. Check With State and Local Bar Associations
Your state or local bar associations or even local legal aid offices can help you separate the wheat from the chaff. They can help you isolate firms that deal specifically with workers’ compensation issues. You don’t want to waste your time on firms that dabble in this field — you need a legal firm that has solid experience with the workers’ compensation process.
3. The Internet
A quick internet search will produce dozens of law firms in Pennsylvania that say they handle workers’ compensation issues. It’s a good place to start. You’ll even find referral services for a variety of legal firms.
After your search, dig deeper for more information. If your search produces a law firm you think may suit your purposes, study the website to ensure they do specialize in workers’ compensation issues. Here are some things to ask yourself:
- Does the firm’s website contain articles that educate and inform potential clients about important workers’ compensation issues?
- Can you find testimonials from previous clients about the firm’s work with workers’ compensation claims?
- Does the firm explain its fees and what you can expect to pay for the services?
- Is there information on the firm’s lawyers that talks about their experience and their successes in previous workers’ compensation claims?
While you don’t want to base your decision about who to hire solely on information obtained from a company’s website, this can give you a good indication of a lawyer’s experience in dealing with workers’ compensation issues, their knowledge of this area of the law and their professionalism. The quality of a firm’s website can tell you a lot about the firm itself. Doing an internet search like this can help you narrow down what might otherwise be a plethora of choices.
The Qualifications Your Workers’ Compensation Attorney Should Have
So you’ve done some homework, talked to some friends, searched the internet, and you’ve come up with two, three or four attorneys who you think would be good choices. Now you need to think about the exact qualifications you would like to find in an attorney. Here are some qualifications to think about:
1. Their Specialty
When you interview an attorney, you want to ask them directly about their experience in workers’ compensation law. While their website might say they are specialists, they may tell you in person that workers’ compensation law is only one of the areas of the law that they work in. You want to make sure that the lawyer you choose does not dabble in workers’ compensation but is experienced and knowledgeable about those issues.
You might want to go even further and find a workers’ compensation specialist who knows a great deal about your particular injury. For instance, you may have a cumulative trauma injury like carpal tunnel syndrome or some other repetitive stress injury (RSI). These injuries can be more difficult to prove in a workers’ compensation claim. Therefore, it makes sense that if you have an injury of this type and you are worried about your case, you’ll want to find an attorney who has a track record of success in dealing with these types of injuries.
2. No Divided Loyalties
You want to find a lawyer who only represents injured workers. Some firms may work both sides, representing injured workers in some cases and employers in others. This is not the attorney you need.
3. A Successful Track Record
Your lawyer should work in a firm that has a long and successful history of helping injured workers gain the benefits to which they are entitled. Don’t be afraid to ask the attorney for the names of several other people they have represented successfully who can tell you a little bit more about their experiences with that lawyer.
4. Strong Financial Resources
All attorneys who deal with workers’ compensation cases in Pennsylvania work on a contingency fee basis when it comes to attorney’s fees. If your case is successful, attorneys can charge a fee of no more than 20 percent of the benefits that you receive. If you lose your case, you will be charged nothing for attorney’s fees.
Legal costs are different, so you want to dig a little deeper on this issue. For instance, an expert witness can cost as much as $3,000. Most injured workers cannot afford those costs. You want to work with the firm that will help cover these costs — or not charge for them at all — and will help you if a benefit or settlement check is late in arriving.
You’ll also want to find a firm that will provide you with case management free of charge.
5. The Length of Time They’ve Worked With Workers’ Comp Issues
You should look for an attorney who has experience in dealing with workers’ compensation issues for at least 15 years if not more.
6. Open Communication
This is one of the most important qualities you can find in a workers’ compensation attorney. While attorneys can’t work on your case all the time, you still want to be able to talk to them when you feel it is important and not be shifted off to an assistant or intern who may be helping the lawyer with your case. You also want to find someone who’s willing to share with you all the information that they have gathered to help with your claim. The last thing you want is an attorney who will introduce evidence or witnesses at a hearing that you may know nothing about.
7. A Solid Support Staff
While you need to be able to speak with your attorney on all important issues, if it’s just a situation where you need to fill out paperwork or if you have a simple question, you will probably be working with a paralegal, legal assistant or perhaps an intake specialist. You want to make sure that the staff is also well-versed and well-trained in the field of workers’ compensation law.
You also want to support staff to treat you with respect. If you arrive for an interview with an attorney, and the support staff in the office is dismissive or rude, you do not want to work with that firm.
8. Customer Service
People often have an impression of lawyers as being aloof or not focused on you when you are discussing your problems with them. It doesn’t have to be that way. Good lawyers will work well with clients and show them the respect they deserve. Good lawyers understand it’s not just a matter of you needing a workers’ compensation lawyer. They understand you can give your business to anyone and will treat you and your claim seriously.
9. Interest in Your Well-Being
Helping you win your workers’ compensation case is, of course, important for your attorney. But the most important thing for you is to recover your health. You want an attorney who will make sure you get the best medical care possible. They will help you find a doctor who doesn’t always side with the insurance company but who will take your injury seriously and make sure you get the treatment you need. Find an attorney who is willing to stand up to the insurance company if they try to deny those treatments.
10. Works Hard on Your Behalf
You want an attorney who will work hard for you. You don’t want an attorney who thinks your case is something that deserves their attention only now and then. It makes sense to trust your gut on this issue. If you ask a lot of questions, and you sense that this is an attorney who is willing to work hard to help you gain the benefits to which you are eligible, that’s an attorney you want to work with.
How Frommer D’Amico Can Help You
At Frommer D’Amico, we work hard to know our clients and their families. This allows us to create a personalized strategy for each client that helps them avoid the regular pitfalls that exist in the workers’ compensation system.
We can help you with all the aspects of your workers’ compensation claim. We can help you file your claim as well as gather the evidence and the witnesses to support that claim. We can help you collect the medical evidence that will prove your claim. Most workers’ compensation’s claims fail because they have inadequate medical evidence to support them. We will work hard to ensure that this does not happen and that every claim has all the proper information needed.
And when it is time for you to return to work, we can advise you on the best way to do it and how to ensure that you do not lose any benefits you can continue receiving.
When you receive your workers’ compensation benefits, we will continue to advise you at no charge. Many legal firms offer a free consultation, but we go beyond that free consultation by regularly talking to you about your case and how it is proceeding. Your ongoing medical care is important to us. To make sure that you are receiving the medical treatment that you need, we will obtain and review your medical records with you at our expense.
If you receive any documents concerning your workers’ compensation case or benefits, we are happy to review them and advise you about the best course of action. If you need to take an Independent Medical Exam (IME) or an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE), we will talk to you before you go so you will know what to expect and the best ways to ensure you have a positive outcome.
Unlike many of the legal firms in Pennsylvania, we cover all legal costs including finding medical records, transcript fees, even depositions of medical experts. And we cover these costs whether we win or lose your case.
Contact Frommer D’Amico When You Need an Attorney You Can Trust
When you want to find a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney to answer all your needs, contact Frommer D’Amico. We have a qualified team that specializes in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation cases. We do our best to save you money, and you can count on us to work hard to help get you the benefits to which you are entitled.
We are happy to offer a free initial consultation to discuss your issues. But unlike many other law firms, we also can give you free case management, potentially saving you thousands of dollars. This helps us ensure that you get to keep more of your compensation check for you and your family. Contact us today for a consultation.