In 2019, employers in the private sector reported 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A workplace injury can not only cause physical and emotional pain, but it can also saddle you with debt. It may take months or even years for you to recover from the physical, psychological, and financial burdens of a workplace injury.
But with the right workplace injury lawyer, you won’t have to go it alone. Here are the best ways to find one for your needs.
Understand Your Situation
Workplace injury statistics have been slowly declining in recent years, according to data from the BLS. Still, they accounted for a median 8 days away from work for private workers — and twice as many for workers aged 65 and older.
To find the right workplace injury law firm, you’ll need to ask yourself the following:
- Was the accident job-related?
- Are suffering from toxic exposure, occupational illness, or a repetitive stress injury?
- Has it made it difficult or even impossible to work?
- Have you sought medical treatment? Will you need to?
- Are you worried about the impact on your finances?
- Will you file a claim?
These questions will help you understand what to look for in a workplace injury attorney. The right one will be familiar with your state’s specific laws and how they apply to you.
In Texas, for example, injured workers can either sue their employer over an injury or illness or file a worker’s compensation claim. But this choice is ultimately made by the employer.
Many employers opt for an injury plan that encompasses three types of benefits: medical, income loss, and death.
But to qualify, workers must file a workplace injury report within 30 days of the injury. They must also formally file their worker’s compensation claim within a year of the injury or illness.
Start by making a list of possible lawyers for your case. You can obtain leads from friends, family members, or even co-workers who have had to deal with a similar situation.
Generally, the people you know will be more trustworthy in making recommendations. They’ll have a better understanding of your situation, and they’ll be honest about what they liked and disliked about their experience with an attorney.
Similarly, if you’ve worked with a lawyer in the past, it couldn’t hurt to ask them for recommendations. Even if they don’t practice in workplace injury, they might know reputable lawyers who do.
Then, head to Google. This is the fastest way to generate a list of workplace injury lawyers who work in your geographic area.
Do Your Research
Once you have a list of potential leads, it’s time to narrow them down and dig a little deeper.
Online reviews are a great place to start. But be sure to read reviews from a variety of sources. Many lawyers will include client testimonials on their websites.
While you shouldn’t ignore these, you should also keep in mind that many firms want to showcase the most gleaming reviews possible. As a result, you may not be getting the full picture.
Google Reviews can provide a better overview of client satisfaction. You might also check reviews on the firm’s Facebook page if they have one.
Read the attorney’s or firm’s “about” or “biography” page to learn more about their practice areas and experiences. This will give you a good base for the questions you’ll want to ask when you meet them later.
You can also use online directories, like Martindale-Hubbell, to find lawyers in your area.
Using the Texas Bar website, you can find a lawyer, read up on their background, learn if they are licensed to practice in the state, and determine whether they’ve had any disciplinary history.
Another trick is to check under the “News” results of your Google search. Your lawyer might’ve made headlines for defending a high-profile client — or, by getting in trouble.
Schedule a Meeting
Once you’ve read up on 2-3 potential lawyers for your case, schedule a meeting so you can get to know each other better. Many lawyers will offer free consultations, and some may even offer virtual sessions to minimize the risk of COVID-19.
See this meeting as a chance to learn more about anything you might’ve discovered in your research. Some questions you might ask include:
- How long have you been handling personal injury cases?
- How much experience do you have in cases like mine?
- How confident are you in my case?
- Who will work my case?
- If we win, how much compensation can I expect?
- Will my case go to trial?
- What role will I play in my case?
- How long does it typically take to resolve cases like mine?
- Do you have any additional certifications?
- Can you provide any additional peer reviews or referrals?
- How are your fees structured?
- What forms of payment do you accept?
During this meeting, pay attention to how your lawyer makes you feel. While experience, knowledge, and a plan are important, so is your lawyer’s attitude. This is where it’s important to trust your gut instincts and first impressions.
Navigating the legal realm is stressful enough on top of a workplace injury. Your lawyer should understand that and be available to answer your questions and address your concerns.
Sign a Contract
Once you’ve decided on the right lawyer for your case, review the contract carefully and ask them any questions you’re unsure about.
Make sure you are clear on fee structures and payment methods and ask your lawyer about the best way to reach them both during and outside of business hours. Will they direct you to an assistant, paralegal, or secretary?
Be mindful that some bigger law firms may have a higher caseload. While this is certainly a testament to their reputation, it may mean you’ll have less direct contact with your attorney.
Smaller law firms, on the other hand, have the benefit of a more individualized approach. Neither one is preferable over the other; it’s only a matter of your personal priorities.
Hire the Right Workplace Injury Lawyer Today
If you’ve gotten injured or ill on the job, it’s important to have the right lawyer advocating for you.
At Roberts Markland LLP, we’ve successfully recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients in the past five years. We are familiar with the complexities of workplace injury cases, and we’re ready to fight for the justice you deserve.
Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help you win your case.