If you’ve been hurt in an accident at work, you already know that it may be time to hire an attorney. But, if you have never hired an attorney before, it can be hard to know where to start. Do you just open the Yellow Pages and pick a lawyer? Should you use Google to find an attorney on the internet? How do you know if the attorney is even qualified to handle your case? It’s not easy an easy decision to make, and the search can bring up a lot of questions about who you can really trust and how to find the right attorney to handle your work injury claim.
What to Look for in the Attorney You Choose for Your Work Injury Claim
While the choice is ultimately up to you, there are a few traits you should be looking for in an attorney to make sure that you’re choosing someone who can be the right fit for your specific case:
- Experience with work injury cases in your state. Work injury cases are different from other legal matters, and it’s important that you choose an attorney with relevant skills and successful experience after you have been hurt at work. Depending on where you work and where you live, it can also be helpful to look for an attorney who has experience with the state-level laws and regulations that affect your case.
- Experience with work injury cases in your industry. The attorney you choose should be familiar with the type of job you do, the kinds of equipment you use, what your workday is like, the dangers you typically face, the laws and regulations that apply, and the other little details of your day-to-day that can become a big deal in your case later on.
- A willingness to answer questions. If your attorney doesn’t return your calls or doesn’t address the questions you have, he or she is probably not the right person for your case. You want an attorney who will be responsive and focused on you.
- The ability to explain your options in language you understand. If you don’t understand a word that’s said, then you won’t be able to get the answers you need to make the right decisions in your case. Your attorney should be able to communicate in clear, easy-to-understand language.
- No history of discipline by the State Bar. It’s never a bad idea to do a little research on your own, and it’s worth taking time to check out your attorney’s background and disciplinary history through the State Bar.
Looking for these kinds of things in the attorneys and law firms you talk with can help you narrow down your search and decide who is qualified to take your case and handle it well. However, don’t stop there—if you’re planning to hire an attorney, it’s a good idea to still meet in person and ask questions before you decide to move forward.
Questions to Ask an Attorney You’re Considering Hiring for a Work Injury Case
It is a good idea to interview the lawyer you are thinking about hiring before you give him or her your case. Any good attorney will happily answer your questions in a straightforward, no-nonsense way, and it gives you a chance to get a “gut feel” about whether or not you might work well together. If you sense that your questions are making the attorney uncomfortable, or if the attorney seems to be acting evasive, you may want to look elsewhere for legal representation.
To help you get ready to meet with an attorney for the first time, here are some examples of the kinds of questions you might want to ask:
- How long have you been taking work injury cases? How many workers have you represented? Ideally you want an attorney with a proven track record, not somebody who only just started taking cases last week or doesn’t have a lot of history with the type of case you have.
- Have you handled a case like mine before? It would be ideal if your situation isn’t new to your lawyer. You don’t want him or her learning on the job!
- May I have a list of your case results? If the attorney is reluctant to discuss his or her case history with you, it might be a warning sign that he or she lacks experience or skill.
- Who will work on my case? At some law firms, cases get farmed out to paralegals, junior attorneys, or even to another firm entirely. It is important that you know who will be handling your case—there is no point in hiring a big-name lawyer only to have him or her pawn the case off on somebody else.
- Have you had a case against the same company before? A lot of employers are large corporations that may operate a number of locations across the United States. A lawyer who has a lot of experience handing work injury claims will likely have experience with cases against many of the larger ones. Prior experience with the company you want to file a suit against is great because your lawyer will be that much more prepared. This can be especially helpful when your employer is a railroad, an oil & gas company, or in similar industries where there may be only a few large companies employing many hundreds of thousands of people.
- Do you also represent employers and insurance companies? An attorney who plays both sides may have a conflict of interest. You might want to try and find somebody who focuses on representing victims only.
- Are you board certified, and if so, in what field(s)? Do you carry malpractice insurance? Believe it or not, there are many attorneys out there who are not board certified and who don’t carry malpractice insurance. It is in your best interest to find one who is both certified and insured.
Getting the Answers You Need Before You Hire an Attorney
Even if you’re not sure if you’re ready to hire an attorney, an initial consultation is all about making sure you are getting the answers you need to make informed decisions. As you interview potential attorneys, even if you don’t plan to hire someone immediately, you should also use the time to ask questions about your case, including questions like:
- What can I do right now to make sure my claim is successful?
- What are my rights after I’ve been hurt on the job?
- How much is my case worth?
- How do I know when to go back to work?
- Who will pay all of these medical bills?
- Why should I hire an attorney to help with my work injury claim?
- Do I really even need to hire an attorney?
If you choose to meet with our attorneys, we would be happy to talk with you and answer all of these questions and more, as well as explain what you need to do to protect yourself from insurance company tricks and traps—all at no cost or obligation to you. We’re here to help injured workers get the real answers that they need, and we understand that you may be coming to us confused, frustrated, and unsure about the necessary next steps. Our attorneys will give you clear and honest answers—we’ll even tell you honestly if you really need an attorney for your case and help connect you with the resources you need while you’re recovering.
VB Attorneys Has a Long and Successful History of Helping Injured Workers
Our attorneys have helped countless victims—just like you—get justice for their pain, suffering, and losses. We have handled all kinds of work injury cases across many different kinds of industries, including those that involve complicated issues like:
- Safety violations. Our client, a 33-year-old house inspector, fell from the attic of a home under construction. The ladder he was using had no safety rails in place, causing him to fall three floors and land on his back. He was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with a closed-head injury and lumbar strain, which caused severe back pain, swelling in both legs, and difficulty with urination. The doctor told our client that he would be unable to work, drive, or use tools, permanently ending his career in construction. We were able to recover $650,000 for the victim and his family.
- Defective products. Many construction injuries are caused by malfunctioning equipment. One of our clients was taking measurements at a construction site in Brenham when the chain on his scissor lift came loose. Our client fell 20 feet onto the concrete ground, suffering a serious brain injury. Our attorneys discovered a design defect with the entry chain on the scissor lift, getting our client a settlement from the manufacturer and supplier of the scissor lift that will pay for his injury costs for many years to come.
- Premises liability. A 24-year-old painter came to us for help after suffering a serious fall on a construction site. He was texturing the ceiling on a townhouse when he fell over the balcony, breaking his left arm and shoulder and suffering a herniated disc in his back. We were able to prove that the required safety rails on the balcony were never installed, putting employees on the site at serious risk. Because of the company’s negligence, our client received $350,000 for loss of income and medical costs.
If you’re interested, you can read more about the many work injury cases we’ve handled and the clients we’ve served by visiting our case results.
At VB Attorneys, we know that it’s difficult to know whom you can trust after a serious accident. That is why we always ensure that your contact with our attorneys does not cost you anything unless we win your case. Your first consultation is free. We advance all court costs and fees, and you will only pay for our services after we get you the justice you deserve. If you have been hurt at work in Texas, we encourage you to talk with us about your case today by reaching out to our law office at 1-877-724-7800.
More Information for Injured Workers: