Choosing the Right Worker’s Compensation Attorney
The lawyer you hire for your workers’ compensation case can make a big difference in getting you the benefits you deserve. Picking the wrong lawyer can be disastrous. You could wind up with an out of town lawyer that will file your case far from your home and will likely never meet you in person. Watch out for Google advertising and search results on Google maps that have no address, no website and does not show the lawyers name yet somehow has five-star reviews. That should be a big red flag for you.
If it does show lawyers name, verify that lawyers real address from the State Bar of California, all lawyers must list the real business address with the California State Bar, if your research shows that the that lawyer is not actually near you or using some bogus address, find another lawyer.
You can verify the lawyers name address and phone number here:
If you don’t do your research and wind up with a lawyer through some Google search result that you actually haven’t met or spoken with, you will have no idea where your cases being filed and who eventually will be handling your case. You may wind up with a good lawyer, you may not, but are you willing to take that chance with something that can affect the rest of your life?
Make sure the lawyer you choose is experienced and local to you. A local lawyer will be familiar with the courts in your area, the qualified medical evaluators and primary treating physicians and should have a good working relationship with defense attorneys and insurance carriers by way of reputation. Many of the ads you see on Google are from lawyers that will file your case long distances from your home and generally once that happens you are stuck there. Do your research first before making your choice, takes a few minutes to do some research at the State Bar website and will save you a lot of grief later.
Once you’ve gone through the process of finding and researching workers’ comp attorneys, the next step will be to set up meetings with the lawyers you’re considering. Workers’ comp lawyers don’t charge for initial consultations, which may happen over the phone or at the lawyer’s office. Either way, it’s important to be prepared, so that you can get the most out of the meetings. Here are some tips for your preparation.
You should be ready with a brief summary of what has happened in your case so far. Lawyers like to go through events chronologically, so it will help to create a short timeline of the events, including:
- when you were hired
- how and when the injury happened
- how and when you notified your employer about the injury, and who received the notice
- when and where you first sought medical treatment, and
- a brief summary of your medical treatment to date.
Bring the your Documents
You should bring any documents and other relevant information to bring to your meeting, including:
- any written reports of your accident or injury
- a list of your medical providers and their contact information
- a list of any witnesses who saw your accident, with contact information
- information on any previous injuries you’ve had to the same part of your body
- correspondence from your employer or its insurance company about your claim, and
- contact information for your employer and its insurance company.
The lawyers intake forms will last most of these questions if you don’t have the documents handy.
Initial consultations are an opportunity to evaluate whether a lawyer will be the best fit for you. This is important as you will likely have a long-term working relationship with your lawyer in developing a plan to deal with the circumstances of your work injury and understanding the potential outcomes of your case.