After suffering an on-the-job injury, the last thing you need is to struggle with getting benefits. Unfortunately, many people are denied benefits or do not receive their full amount of compensation. These individuals need a reliable worker’s compensation attorney, which can be found using the following criteria.
Researching a Practice
The ideal firm is one that deals solely with worker’s compensation claims. Attorneys should have many years of experience handling such claims. Those who also have experience representing insurance companies are at an advantage, since they are aware of the techniques used by carriers in order to deny claims.
Contact the State Bar of Minnesota to learn if an attorney’s license is current and whether there are any pending disciplinary actions. Through this agency, you can also learn about previous complaints, to include any past suspensions.
Evaluating Online Reviews
Do some research online to find reviews from past clients. When reading reviews, keep in mind that each case is different, so your settlement amount may vary from that of someone else. Do not be swayed by the fact that a previous client received what you feel is a very large settlement.
You should also review a firm’s website to see how it is laid out. A well-written website that is well formulated and flows nicely indicates an organized, professional practice. While graphics and video are nice, excessive busyness is often associated with inexperience and overarching promises. The ideal website will be clean, neat, and not overly salesy in nature.
Once you have found a reputable practice, it is then time to schedule a consultation. During that consultation, you should ask a few questions such as:
- Have you represented clients throughout the administrative process as well as during appeals and circuit court trials?
- Who will be handling my case? Will the same attorney be assigned from start to finish?
- Do you only represent injured workers, or does your practice also extend to insurance companies and employers? Keep in mind that those who also represent employers and insurance companies could have a conflict of interest.
- Have you handled cases similar to mine in the past? What were their outcomes?
- Will I receive updates on a regular basis? Will I speak directly to you or to a paralegal or legal assistant?
- Can you provide me with an anticipated timeline of events?
It’s not enough to just find out about a practice, as you should also try to assess the validity of your claim. For this reason, you may also want to ask about the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
In Minnesota, attorney’s fees are assessed on a contingency basis. In other words, you pay a portion of your settlement, and are not liable for fees if there is no recovery. The maximum percentage is 20% of the first $130,000 of your settlement. The total amount may not exceed more than $26,000 per injury.
Although fees are capped, you could nonetheless be liable for certain expenses along the way. As such, it is important to know whether or not you will need to pay out of pocket for:
- Medical examinations
- Accident reconstruction
- Expert witnesses
- Miscellaneous expenses such as copies, postage, subpoenas, etc.
Use Your Instincts
Do not be afraid to go with your instincts. If you feel put off by an attorney or do not believe your concerns are being taken seriously, it’s time to find another lawyer.
Finding the right worker’s compensation attorney is key if you are to make a successful recovery. Use the same diligence you would exercise when choosing a lawyer for any other purpose, and you are more likely to be satisfied with your decision.
In need of a worker’s compensation attorney? If so, please contact us to begin your research.