Stephen Hasner | Workers' Compensation | April 15, 2023
The workers’ compensation system handles most workplace injury claims that arise in Savannah. You have the legal right to hire a lawyer to represent you. Although any lawyer who is a member of the State Bar of Georgia can represent you in your workers’ compensation claim, not all workers’ compensation lawyers are created equal.
Look for Experience
To qualify to represent you, the lawyer doesn’t have to handle workers’ compensation cases exclusively. Ideally, they should be experienced in workers’ comp and personal injury cases.
The lawyer should have plenty of experience in both settling cases and taking them to trial. Most lawyers have settled far more cases than they have taken to trial. The best way to avoid trial, however, is for your lawyer to convince the opposing party that they would lose there. The best way to convince them that they would lose there is to have a track record of success at trial.
Why Experience in Ordinary Work-Related Personal Injury Claims Matters
Personal injuries arising out of workplace accidents often generate work-related claims that fall outside of the workers’ compensation system. If you can find an outside defendant (not your employer), you could end up winning a lot more compensation than workers’ compensation would likely provide you with.
This is because once you exit the workers’ compensation system by finding a non-employer defendant to claim against, you can seek non-economic damages. Non-economic damages often amount to several times the amount of damages you could win in a workers’ compensation case.
The difficulty is that, unlike the case with workers’ compensation claims, you usually have to prove the opposing party was at fault to win.
Meet the Lawyer in Person
How persuasive is the lawyer? If they can’t persuade you, odds are they can’t convince anyone else either. Do they seem distracted? Are they approachable? Can they explain complex legal concepts in understandable terms? Do you like them? What does your gut tell you? When evaluating a lawyer that you meet in person, rely on both your intellect and your intuition.
Questions To Ask the Lawyer
Try to ask as many of the following questions as possible during your consultation:
- How long have you been handling workers comp cases?
- Do you also handle work-related personal injury claims?
- What percentage of your cases settle?
- How many work-related cases have you taken to trial?
- How busy are you? Do you have time to handle my claim?
- Have you ever represented clients with injuries that are similar to mine?
- How can I contact you if I need to?
Feel free to ask any other questions that you think are important. Remember, any ethical lawyer will be extremely reluctant to offer you a guarantee.
Staff and Resources
The size of the law firm is important. Solo practitioners might lack the resources, especially investigative resources, to do your claim justice. On the other hand, your case might get lost in the files of a large firm that considers you little more than a case number.
Does the Lawyer Ask You Detailed Questions About Your Case?
Let’s hope they do. What you need to be looking for is a personalized approach to problem-solving rather than a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach. Every client is an individual, and every case is different.
Ask the lawyer about their fee structure. Most workers’ compensation lawyers work on a contingency fee basis—a pre-agreed percentage of their client’s total recovery. Georgia law does not allow a lawyer to charge more than 25% for a workers’ compensation contingency fee.
For a work-related personal injury claim, the fee is likely to range between 33% and 40%, depending on whether there is a trial.
Don’t Cut Corners When It Comes to Legal Representation
Your choice of a lawyer is likely to be the most important decision you make in your entire case. A good lawyer will not only help you win but will also help you win maximum compensation. Just about any Savannah workers’ compensation lawyer will be happy to schedule a free initial case consultation with you.
Contact the Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Hasner Law, P.C. For Help
We serve in Fulton County, Chatham County, and its surrounding areas: