Finding a workers’ compensation attorney is a difficult task. Finding a qualified and experienced attorney is an even more difficult task.
After suffering a broken wrist at work, I realized that workers’ compensation is a specialty and that I was embarking on a search for a specialist In his field.
This understanding was not exactly momentous on my part, but it provided a focus and argument in favor of symmetry. If I encountered a pipe break at home, I would not hire a general contractor. I would hire a licensed plumber. If my company needed a logo redesign, I would not hire a freelancer; I would hire a graphic artist.
So after a doctor didn’t exactly fill me with confidence about my treatment plan, and I was waiting for my employer to review my claim anyway, I figured it would be best for me to not only hire an attorney, but also whoever could. find. It was certainly a difficult task.
An imperfect but ultimately successful search
My search for a workers’ compensation attorney was not without wrinkles, but I learned how to fix them until I found the right one for me:
What I did: I started with the Florida division of the American Bar Association.
What I learned: This seemed like a logical start, until I saw that there is also an Orange County Bar Association because Orlando is located in Orange County.
What I did: In trying to narrow my search to workers ‘compensation, I ended up on Lawyers.com with, effectively, a page of workers’ compensation lawyers.
What I learned: With over 50 names to sort through, one question struck me: Did you want an attorney who was a member of a large firm or someone from a smaller firm?
What I did: Obviously, there are advantages and disadvantages to both options. In the end, it’s probably a matter of preference. I was strongly inclined to find someone in a small business because I assumed I would get a level of personality that appealed to me. But I thought I would do what many people do at the beginning of their search for a workers’ compensation attorney: they ask friends, family, and co-workers for recommendations.
What I learned: Help your cause if your friends, family, or co-workers have filed a workers’ compensation claim. None of mine had, so I felt like I was starting over. For me, this was the lowest point in the process.
What I did: I joined and decided to “go local” by doing an internet search on my own.
What I learned: I reminded myself that finding a workers’ compensation attorney can be a recursive process, like all research projects, so I decided that the time I put in would finally be worth it.
What I did: I spent hours reading the websites of various attorneys who practiced workers’ compensation law. This was not as time consuming as it seems. First impressions really speak volumes. I kept coming back to the website that I liked the most, one that was informative, well written, and professional. He stood out, head and shoulders, among all the others.
What I learned: Trusting my own judgment was paramount. I wanted someone who conveyed skill and personality.
What I did: I dug a little deeper, probing for the experience factor I was looking for the most at first. I really wanted a specialist, and a successful one.
What I learned: When I saw that this particular attorney cited the outcome of their workers’ compensation cases, they practically sold me. I did not see this information on any other website.
What I did: I called the attorney to set up a meeting, treating this “initial consultation as the attorney’s job interview.”
What I learned: I liked this approach, both professional and friendly. I took notes while asking some suggested questions:
How many years have you been handling workers’ compensation claims?
How much of your practice is devoted to workers’ compensation?
Can you represent me throughout the workers’ compensation process, including administrative hearings and appeals?
Can you provide references?
Will you personally work on my case or will the paralegals and paralegals handle most of the work?
When I call your office with a question about my case, will I speak to you or a paralegal?
Can you explain to me how a workers’ compensation claim proceeds through the system? How do attorney fees work?
Will I be charged for costs related to the litigation, and if so, what do these costs include? Will I be charged even if my case is unsuccessful?
Honestly, I didn’t even finish my list of questions before deciding that I had found the ideal attorney to represent me. His demeanor, highly intelligent but personable, professional but down to earth, convinced me in a matter of minutes.
Yes, finding a workers’ compensation attorney is a difficult task. But when you take the time to let the process evolve, you can also fulfill that order.