According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry employers reported 2.6m nonfatal work injuries and illnesses in 2021. If you’re among the many who suffer each year from a workplace incident that wasn’t their fault, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation.
Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer gives you the greatest chance of having your claim approved – or if it’s denied, of making a successful appeal. And knowing how to find a good workers’ compensation lawyer will help you find suitable legal representation.
How to find a good workers’ compensation lawyer
It can be tough to determine which legal firm is the best choice to handle your case. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top qualities you should look for in a workers’ comp lawyer.
1) Relevant credentials
The rules and regulations for workers’ compensation claims differ across the US. As such, a law firm operating in Colorado or Oklahoma might not be qualified to handle a claim in Kansas. So your first priority should be finding a law firm that’s licensed to practice law in your state.
The safest option is to choose a local law firm. If you live in Pittsburg, for example, a workers’ comp lawyer near Pittsburg is almost guaranteed to have the credentials necessary to represent you effectively.
It’s also a good idea to contact a state or local bar association, or even a local legal aid office. These organizations can direct you to firms that deal specifically with workers’ comp claims, saving you a great deal of time, effort, and stress.
Winning a workers’ compensation claim isn’t easy. Your injuries need to be proven with documented evidence, and your employer or their insurance company might try to deny your claim to avoid paying out. The more years of experience a workers’ comp lawyer has, the more likely they are to have the knowledge and ability needed to win your case.
But that’s not to say you should discount less-experienced lawyers entirely. Since most firms work on a contingency basis, they only receive their payment if you win your case. Therefore, if a younger firm is eager to take your case, it usually means they’re extremely confident in your claim. They might also devote much more time and attention to your case in order to build their reputation, which can be a huge benefit.
Another factor to consider is whether the firm also handles other types of work injury claims. That’s because a firm with a breadth of expertise might realize that you’re also entitled to other forms of compensation, such as personal injury damages or Social Security disability. This can lead to a greater payout than a niche workers’ comp lawyer might not think to demand.
3) High success rate
While experience is a key indicator of a workers’ compensation lawyer’s ability, it’s also important to ask about their actual success rate. When you have your initial consultation, be sure to ask how many of their clients typically win their cases.
However, be aware that certain rules and regulations might prevent a firm from revealing specific figures. Rather than consider this a red flag, take it as evidence that the firm has a deep respect for upholding professional conduct. Instead, ask whether they’ve dealt with cases similar to yours, or in which their client had similar injuries, and whether the claims were successful.
4) Size and availability
When making a workers’ compensation claim, hiring the biggest and most prestigious firm can be tempting. After all, their immense resources and excellent reputation can make them seem like the best option.
But while popular firms might be highly capable, a heavy workload will mean that your case receives much less attention. This could put your claim at risk, and even if it’s successful you might have to wait much longer to receive your payout. Similarly, you might be allocated to a member of the secretarial staff for communication, meaning you receive less information.
Try to look for a firm with enough staff to manage your case without becoming overwhelmed. Such firms have the resources to progress your claim quickly and efficiently while still giving it plenty of personal attention.
5) High client satisfaction
Information about a firm’s experience, specialties, size, and so on is excellent for narrowing down your selection. But reading about the thoughts and feelings of real clients gives you a much better idea of what you can expect.
Start by checking the firm’s website for a testimonials section, as this is where you’ll find their most glowing reviews. After that, branch out to Google and Trustpilot for a more general snapshot of clients’ experiences.
You might also wish to ask family and friends whether they can recommend a good workers’ comp lawyer. But if you do, be sure that you don’t discuss any specific details of your case. Your employer’s insurance company might wish to interview those closest to you, and even small discrepancies could be used to deny your claim.
6) Agreeable communication
Each workers’ compensation lawyer communicates differently. Some will text you a small piece of information every day. Others will send you a long and detailed email every few weeks. For your own peace of mind, it’s important to choose a lawyer who communicates in a way that makes you feel comfortable.
If waiting for information makes you anxious, consider a lawyer who will contact you frequently. If you’re happy to leave your case in their hands, you might prefer a smaller number of dense updates. Whichever style suits you, discuss how the lawyer plans to communicate with you during your initial consultation.
7) A strong personal connection
Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be a stressful experience. To make the process as easy as possible, you need a lawyer who puts you at ease and talks you through the case in a way that makes sense to you.
A lawyer who considers your personal feelings is more likely to take a genuine interest in understanding your case and pursuing an appropriate payout. On the other hand, a lawyer who dismisses you or ignores your needs will probably treat your claim in the same way. If you feel that you can’t be open and honest with a particular lawyer, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere.
Let Phalen Law fight for you
Now that you know how to find a good workers’ comp lawyer, it’s time to decide which firm is right for you. For a qualified, experienced, and attentive workers’ compensation lawyer near Pittsburg, Joplin, Kansas City, or Coffeyville, look no further than Phalen Law.
For over 50 years, our team has helped the people of Kansas and Missouri win claims for workers’ compensation and workplace personal injury. We offer a personalized service with a proven track record and have fought landmark cases all the way to the Supreme Court. Whether you’re claiming for minor injuries or a life-changing disability, Phalen Law is on your side until the very end.
Contact us today or fill out our Free Case Evaluation form to arrange a free consultation, and start your workers’ compensation claim.