If you think you’re not receiving all the compensation you deserve after a workplace injury or accident, you should start looking for a workers’ compensation lawyer. You’ll come to find that many workers compensation lawyers will give you an initial consultation at no cost. While this seems like a good deal, you do need to be wary and know what questions to ask during the initial consultation. By knowing the right questions, you’ll receive more information and build a better relationship with the person you’re trusting to take care of you and your case. Keep reading if you want to know what questions to ask your workers comp lawyer.
Get Prepared For The Consultation
Before your initial consultation, you should be prepared to bring your medical bills and any reports that are relevant to the injuries you sustained on the job. You should also bring any photos that you have. In addition, create a list of any questions you will want to ask the lawyer.
Questions about their experience and practice
How long have you been helping people with workers’ compensation claims?
This question will help you get a feel for how much experience the lawyer has. You can even ask them how many workers compensation settlements they’ve handled. You want a lawyer with enough experience to be familiar and knowledge with the workers comp claims process and workers compensation laws in South Carolina.
Do you handle any other cases? Is the majority of your time dedicated to workers’ compensation cases?
You want to know you’re working with a lawyer or firm that is experienced with representing injured workers, not just seeking new clients for a new side service they offer in addition to other areas of law. Be mindful to ask how long the lawyer or firm has handled workers comp claims.
Do you have a high success rate?
While your lawyer likely won’t be able to provide an exact count, they should be able to provide some info about the success rate of their firm. Ask for a percentage. A 90% and above success rate should be what you’re aiming for.
Will I work directly with you during my case?
Many law firms have a staff of paralegals and case managers who handle a lot of the workload for their clients. Be sure you can contact the lawyer in charge of your case directly if or when you have questions.
A few other things to ask:
- Are you always aware of the updates to workers’ compensation laws?
- Have you previously represented a client who had a case similar to mine?
- How often do you take cases to trial?
Questions about your benefits and claim
Do I qualify for workers comp benefits?
This might seem like an obvious question to ask. But it’s also incredibly important before you continue your search for the right lawyer. If you do indeed have a valid workers comp claim, you’re working against the clock. There’s a tight deadline that applies to your workers compensation settlements. So you need to understand the limitations as to what benefits you are and aren’t entitled to receive. Not all workers qualify for benefits. It’s important to determine whether or not you do before fighting for your legal rights.
What benefits do I qualify for?
The next question following if you qualify for benefits is figuring out what benefits you’re actually entitled to. You need to talk to your lawyer to find out if your benefits will cover medical expenses, treatments, lost wages, and anything else that applies to your individual case.
Can I sue my employer directly? Do I have to sue them?
You might be wondering (or worried) that you’ll have to pursue a lawsuit against your employer. Typically filing a workers comp claim doesn’t require filing a lawsuit. If you don’t actually have a valid workers comp claim, then you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.
How long do I have to file my claim?
There are 2 deadlines you need to keep in mind in the state of South Carolina. The first is that you must notify your employer of the injury or accident within 90 days. That’s 90 days after the injury or accident occurred or was discovered (in the case of repetitive trauma). The second deadline is the Statute of Limitations for South Carolina Workers Compensation. In general, you only have 2 years from the date of your injury or accident to file a claim. If you neglect to file a claim within that time, you’ll lose your rights to reasonable compensation. If you have questions about the dates or deadlines, it’s best to discuss those with an experienced South Carolina workers comp attorney.
A few other things to ask about your South Carolina workers compensation settlements and benefits:
- What is your estimate on how long the claim will take?
- Do you think the insurance company will settle quickly?
- What areas of the claim do you think are the strongest?
- Do you see any weaknesses in the claim?
General questions to ask about your Workers Compensation Settlements
How much is it going to cost for your services?
After meeting with the lawyer for your initial consultation, this question should have a pretty straightforward answer. Typically lawyers represent you on a “contingency fee basis”. This means you don’t owe them anything until you receive payment, negotiate a settlement, or win at trial.
Will you deal with my employer? Will I get fired?
Your lawyer will work with your employer and/or their insurance company on your behalf. This helps reduce the risk that you may accidentally say or do something that might jeopardize your claim. It also creates some distance and gives you more time to focus on healing and getting back to work. What if your employer threatens to fire you for filing a workers comp claim? Know that action (called retaliatory termination) is against the law. You have the right to pursue an employment law case in addition to the workers comp claim.
How can I contact you if I have questions?
Going back to an earlier question, you want to make sure you have direct contact to your lawyer should any questions or problems arise. It’s common for lawyers to communicate with clients via email, phone calls, and even text messages so request an email and phone number.
What do I do now?
Now that you’ve gotten some of the initial questions out of the way, you need to find out what the next steps are. Your lawyer should have the information readily available and be prompt to respond to you about what the next steps are with your case. You should leave your consultation feeling confident that you and your lawyer are ready to do what’s necessary to ensure you get the compensation your rightfully deserve. If you feel uneasy or uncertain, don’t hesitate to ask more questions. Or move on to inquiring service from a different lawyer or firm.
Employees never imagine going into work and suffering a work-related injury. But we all know that accidents happen all the time. When it comes to work injuries, you should know what you need to do. After getting treated medically, need to find a lawyer to best represent you. Contact us today for a consultation and find out why Clardy’s right for you.