Each year workers in the US file an average of 2.9 million work injury claims for non-fatal injuries or related illnesses. These claims are for everything from severe medical conditions to bruises, cuts, and broken bones. If you have experienced a workplace-related injury, then you know just how stressful the whole process can be. Not to mention the fact that it is painful. That said before you hire a work injury lawyer there are a couple of things you need to bear in mind.
One of your biggest concerns is how to get compensation? For this, you'll need to know your rights. It will require navigating through the often-tangled legal system while you are injured or sick. All of this stress can make matters worse. If you play your cards right and hire the right work injury attorney, he or she can take a lot of the stress off you. They can handle the legal ramblings while you focus on recovering.
In this article, we will discuss how to go about finding and hiring the right attorney who will assure you of compensation.
Do Some Homework
Hiring a work injury lawyer is similar to making any other important decision which means it requires doing your homework. Doing your homework will enable you to ask the right questions when meeting the attorney in person. All of which will help to figure out if the attorney has a proven track record of winning cases like yours.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is hiring an attorney by just flipping through the yellow pages. Sure! You could run into the best attorney for your case by doing this but why flip a coin on such an important decision? To find the right attorney you'll need to know a bit about the law. Keep in mind the right attorney can mean the difference between winning the case or losing it.
Check Attorney Sources and Ratings
One of the methods of finding the best possible work injury lawyer is to check resources before deciding to schedule a consultation. The sources will list the qualifications, have reviews by fellow layers and some other information. That said these aren't official rating systems for work injury lawyers. Instead these are peer review systems. Below are a few of the peer review rating websites worth checking out:
- The Martindale-Hubbell Bar Registry: It has a review and rating database of over a million lawyers across America. You'll find short biographies for almost all lawyers with some experience. It is the first peer review website to check on our list as it has been around for over 130 years. Making it one of the most reliable sources of information. The AV rating system helps to identify firms and lawyers who have high preeminent ability and reflects their experience, expertise, and integrity. The system has been established by attorneys to rate attorneys which is why it is considered to uphold the highest ethical standards and can be trusted.
- SuperLawyers: Updated annually, the Super Lawyers listing has a list of the best lawyers in 70 different practice areas. These are lawyers who have a high degree of recognition and have personally achieved the most. The research and the listing is compiled by Law & Politics and is meant to identify attorneys who are the best. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that just 5% of attorneys from each state make it to the list.
- BestLawyers: The list includes 57 specialties, and there is a list of lawyers for each specialty. So, in your case, you'll want to check out the list of Work Injury attorneys. The list is compiled by the lawyers' peers and includes everything from malpractice to personal injury experts.
Work Injury Lawyers with Repute Don't Charge a Fee
Law firms and lawyers who have experience never charge a fee upfront. That said almost every work injury attorney you come across would make the same claims like:
- No fee if there is no compensation
- They will visit you at home or the hospital
- Free consultation
The critical thing to keep in mind is that with the above offers the lawyers aren't doing you any favors. The so-called “Free Consultation” has a price but that is to be paid when you are compensated. However, it is essential that you stay away from scammers who may ask you for money upfront under various pretexts.
What Does No Fee, No Recovery Mean?
All personal injury, workplace injury, etc. lawyers handle cases on a contingent fee basis. What this means is that there isn't a fee but rather a percentage of the recovery amount. Generally, it is 33.33% of the amount you get in the way of compensation.
While the statement sounds simple, it isn't all that straightforward. It is the amount they (lawyers) deduct from the final claim where many victims may get less than they thought.
If the lawyer agrees to take your case but loses then there is no question about you needing to pay anything. However, as a victim, it is essential to know that there is a vast difference between paying an attorney's fee and the related case expenses. All work injury cases entail a certain number of costs which have to be paid for the case to proceed. It is money paid to mainly third parties like expert witnesses, charges for getting medical records, court reporter costs, filing fees, and physician report charges. All of these are needed for the lawsuit.
Law firms tend to handle case expenses differently. The expenses can range from around $5000 to over $50,000. Each firm handles these expenses differently, which depends in part on the philosophy and the financial resources of the firm.
- Some law firms require that clients pay all or a part of the litigation expenses when the case starts. It is perhaps not the best option for most clients.
- Other law firms may cover all expenses for the ongoing case and the client signing an agreement to reimburse the lawyer out of the settlement amount, minus the contingency fee.
- What happens when the lawyer loses the case? Some lawyers will not ask the client to reimburse them for expenses out of pocket. Others will demand reimbursement even if the case is lost.
When it comes to hiring a work injury attorney you have choices. However, you need to read the fine print and ask the law firm about their expense reimbursement policies in the event of a loss. Never accept a response where the lawyer says that “don't worry, we don't lose these types of cases.” Demand to know their policies before signing any paperwork or agreeing to give them your case. Even the best lawyers lose, that the way it is! So, you don't want to end up on the wrong side of the law!
Finally, The Lawyer Should Be Board Certified
The medical profession has used board certification which is a system of peer evaluation and testing for many years. The certification is designed to help identify and highlight physicians who have a particular set of expertise or a sub-specialty within medicine. Board Certification has been so successful in the medical field that the legal system has adopted a similar process of certification.
The National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) is an organization that uses a process for trial lawyers who can achieve board certification. NBTA is a part of a much larger certification which is referred to as the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. Since experience plays a significant role in work injury lawyer success, the NBTA takes extensive courtroom experience into consideration. The lawyer also needs to pass a day-long examination before they get the board-certification directly from NBTA. So, it is worth ensuring that your lawyer has an NBTA certification.