For an injured worker seeking to win their workers’ compensation claim, having an attorney is often the best tool at their disposal. However, it’s not just important to have an attorney, but to have the best attorney most suited to your needs. Finding such an attorney requires asking important questions of any you are considering hiring. Previously, in part one of this article, we discussed some basic questions involving background and experience. In this section, we will explore both practical and philosophical concerns you should discuss when interviewing an attorney. Remember: researching and screening all potential legal representatives will better ensure the success of your case.
Obviously, one of your first concerns will be your attorney’s fee. Never assume an attorney you are interviewing will have the same fee structures as another attorney. Commonly, in workers’ compensation claims, your attorney will receive a percentage of your award only if you win your case. This is called a contingent fee and is different from hourly fee structures. Ask what a percentage an attorney will charge, and always double-check that this amount does not exceed that allowed by state law.
Processes and Procedures
It is also important to understand the typical process and procedure a firm will use to handle your workers’ compensation case. What is their typical timeline; for instance, how long before they will file your claim or claim appeal? What is their procedure for building a case, such as how they build evidence and documentation of your injury, how frequently they communicate with your employer and insurance provider, etc.? How long does their typical workers’ compensation case take? It’s also extremely important to know their policy of communicating updates and information to you, their client. An attorney who keeps a client in the dark not only causes undue stress to their client, but too often is failing to utilize their best resource.
Representation and Resources
You should also ask who will be handling your case. Especially with larger firms, cases may be worked on by a number of individuals. You can’t assume the person you initially spoke with when hiring a law firm is the person who will be representing you. If it’s important to you that you always work with the same person throughout your case, make certain you express this during your interview. On the flip-side, you should also ask what resources or support system an attorney has. While an attorney operating alone may provide individualized service, they may also have fewer resources for handling basic tasks like paperwork, basic research, etc. Given the amount of red-tape involved in fighting for workers’ compensation benefits, a single-attorney office can more easily be overwhelmed.
Finally, what is your potential attorney’s business philosophy? Each client has an idea of their ideal attorney: perhaps you are willing to sacrifice customer service for an attorney whose philosophy is to win at all costs. But likely, you prefer an Illinois workers compensation lawyer who places as much emphasis on building a good attorney-client relationship as they do on winning your case. Pay attention to a legal firm’s mission statement as well as the overall tone of your interview. Compatibility and a good working relationship between you and your lawyer can often help ensure your case goes smoothly.
About the Author: Brooke Haley is a Marketing Associate at Millon & Peskin, Chicago workers compensation attorney that practice in the areas of Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury. Millon & Peskin is a General Civil Litigation Practice with the goal of representing the interests of injured workers, throughout all applicable Courts in the State of Illinois. For more information about Illinois workers compensation lawyer,please visit www.millonpeskin.com.