Stephen Hasner | Workers' Compensation | October 10, 2022
Workers’ compensation applies to work-related injuries. Although many claimants represent themselves, you can and should hire a lawyer for a major claim. The more money that is at stake, the more likely you are to need a lawyer. You should vet your candidates carefully, however. Below you will find a list of questions that will help you.
How the Workers’ Compensation System Works
The State Board of Workers’ Compensation governs workers’ compensation claims. If you suffer a work-related injury, you can seek compensation for medical expenses and lost earnings. These benefits can cover all of your medical expenses but may not cover all of your lost earnings.
You do not have to prove that your employer was at fault to win. In most cases, you can recover even for an accident that was your fault. You cannot win non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, which is a major limitation of your available compensation.
Questions To Ask a Worker’s Comp Lawyer
Most Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers offer free initial consultations. This would be an ideal time to ask the lawyer some questions. Below is a short list of possible questions.
How Many Workers’ Comp Cases Have You Handled?
Workers’ compensation law works very differently than other forms of personal injury law. For this reason, it is critical that your lawyer has plenty of experience handling these claims. Experience with work-related injury claims is not enough by itself. Your lawyer needs specific experience in workers’ compensation claims.
What Is Your Success Rate for Workers’ Comp Claims?
Experience is not enough. You don’t need a lawyer with a lot of experience losing workers’ compensation claims. What is the lawyer’s track record?
What Is Your Estimate of the Value of My Claim?
The lawyer might not be able to answer this question until the end of your consultation after you have provided relevant information about your claim. In certain cases, the lawyer might not be able to give you more than a “ballpark estimate” even after a consultation. Ask anyway.
What Is Your Fee Structure?
Almost all workers’ compensation lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means their fee is a certain pre-agreed percentage of the amount you win, for better or for worse. The advantages of this approach are (i) if you don’t win your claim, your bill will be zero, and (ii) you don’t need a dime in your pocket to hire the lawyer. The typical contingency fee is 33%, but it varies depending on the case. You and your lawyer will agree to the fee ahead of time.
Who Pays Out-of-Pocket Expenses?
Out-of-pocket expenses include court fees, investigation expenses, expert witness fees, and other fees that come out of someone’s pocket and go to a third party. Typically, your lawyer will pay case fees, but you will reimburse them out of your compensation.
Will I Work Directly With You?
This is an important question, especially if you are dealing with a large firm. Many large firms pass off their cases to paralegals or “the junior guy.” You need your lawyer to keep up with your case and be available for your questions.
Do You Have Courtroom Experience?
You are not likely to end up in court over a workers’ compensation claim, although it is possible. What might happen, though, is that a third-party defendant might emerge (other than your employer). You can take a third party to court.
Suppose, for example, that you suffer an injury due to a dangerous condition at a construction site. If your employer doesn’t own the site, you might be able to sue the owner of the site in court via an ordinary personal injury claim. You would have to prove fault, but you could probably demand a lot more compensation. The more successful courtroom experience your lawyer has, the more bargaining power you will have.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you have suffered a work-related injury, you might not know how much your claim is worth. You might not know how to deal with the workers’ comp bureaucracy, you might not understand the strengths and weaknesses of your claim, and you might not understand your options. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney can help.
Contact the Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Hasner Law, P.C. For Help
We serve in Fulton County, Chatham County, and its surrounding areas: