What Workers’ Comp Lawyers Won’t Tell You

In general, workers’ compensation lawyers won’t tell you if they can capably handle your claim. At least, they will probably not give you an honest answer. Fortunately, with some research and some vigilance, you can answer this question for yourself.

To better address this issue, we should pull the curtain back a bit. The workers’ compensation per-claim cost increases 388 percent if the victim has an attorney. That statistic is a very good reason to work with an attorney. But for purposes of this post, to discourage attorney involvement, most states have laws that limit individual workers’ compensation settlement amounts. As a result, most workers’ compensation lawyers rely on volume. High volume often means little individual attention.

Most workers’ compensation attorneys use smokescreens, like client confidentiality, to conceal their caseloads. Despite these efforts, during or after the initial consultation, the amount of attention an attorney is giving, or isn’t giving, a case becomes very apparent. Here are two of the biggest red flags to avoid.

Inaccessible Lawyers

This issue is very common at large workers’ compensation-only law firms. The highly experienced attorney featured in TV commercials probably won’t be the same professional that handles your case. A less-experienced associate, or even a non-lawyer paralegal, handles most of the day-to-day functions.

At the same time, attorneys must have the resources to take on large workers’ compensation insurance companies. David took down Goliath, but David had five stones in his slingshot. If a lawyer has no legal assistants, associate attorneys, or other “stones,” a positive outcome is unlikely.

So, look for a balance. Your attorney should personally handle most tasks but delegate some to other professionals.

On a related note, physical accessibility is important as well. Especially on their bad days, many job injury victims cannot easily get from place to place. Your attorney’s office should be near your home or other stomping grounds. Non-office visits, like Zoom meetings, are good. But nothing substitutes for a private, in-office, face-to-face meeting.

Inexperienced Lawyers

The old saying that “there’s no substitute for experience” usually holds true in this area. Workers’ compensation claims are extremely complex, mostly because insurance companies are so stingy. Benefits payments have decreased 20 percent over the last several decades. Only an experienced attorney knows how to navigate through the system and obtain maximum benefits.
At the same time, experience isn’t everything. A losing high school basketball team that returns all five starters is experienced, but it’s still a losing team. Your attorney should have a successful track record. Furthermore, your attorney should have some trial experience. Job injury lawyers who go into “settlement closets” get little or no respect from insurance company lawyers.

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