Suffering an injury while on the job can quickly turn into more stress than you ever anticipated. Suddenly you are swimming in a sea of paperwork with no sure end in sight. Each day holds another appointment with a doctor, another incident report, or another investigative interview with a lawsuit filed by your employer trying to flesh out details you would rather forget. Never mind the fact that you may already be in pain from the accident. The last thing any injured employee wants to add to the ordeal is more confusion and uncertainty. Having a work comp claim without the help of a lawyer will add stress to an already stressful situation.
It can be frustrating when the work comp adjuster does not call you back, does not answer your questions or does not approve medical treatment. This is where an experienced work comp lawyer can help you. Choosing a lawyer to help you manage your case and receive the benefits to which your injury entitles you should not be another source of stress. The best way an injured employee looking to find their way through the maze of workers’ compensation can make the most of their legal representation is to arm themselves with information. Be proactive in your workers’ compensation case and be prepared when meeting with an attorney. These seven questions for your lawyer are the best place to start.
- What is your level of experience with workers’ compensation? This might seem a fairly broad, or maybe even intrusive question, but asking this will give you an understanding of the attorney’s familiarity with workers’ compensation cases. Knowing an attorney’s comfortability with navigating this area of law will allow you to determine whether a particular lawyer will be the right fit for your case and if you can place your trust in them. Most important: hire a lawyer experienced with handling work comp cases! You would not want a dentist to operate on your back so make sure the lawyer you are hiring represents injured workers and does this type of work every day!
- Who will I be working directly with if your firm takes on my case? This is an important question to ask because it familiarizes you with the people in the firm that will be communicating with you most and who will be handling substantial portions of your case.
- How often do your cases settle versus go to trial? This may not seem important at the outset of your case, but it will become important if your case does eventually go to trial. The goal of every injured employer is to receive maximum compensation and medical benefits, so you want to be confident in your attorney’s ability to achieve your goal.
- What is the typical path for having a successful workers’ compensation claim? Not every workers’ compensation claim is the same but having a general knowledge of the process a case takes gives a sense of certainty in the midst of this uncertain time. It will also familiarize you with the amount of time individual steps on the process may take.
- What information should I share with my doctor? Be honest with your doctor. While the doctor is a “work comp doctor,” he/she is your doctor. The tradeoff with work comp in Alabama is that the employer chooses the initial treating doctor, but work comp also pays for the medical treatment including office visits, diagnostic tests, therapy, medicine and mileage reimbursement. An attorney will be able to shed light on what information is relevant to your case and should be conveyed to your doctor that you may have left out.
- What are the potential pitfalls of my case? Being aware of the potential for weaknesses in your case that could cause difficulty is the best way to prepare for them ahead of time. Your attorney will be able to provide insight into how these weaknesses may affect compensation.
- What do you need from me to be successful in my case? One of the most frustrating parts of any legal matter can be the unknown. Asking your attorney what your involvement in the case will be is the best practice for getting ahead of the uncertainty and being prepared to do what it takes to get your injury covered.
If you are hurt on the job due to unsafe working conditions, seek legal counsel, as you may be entitled to workers’ compensation or other benefits. As we have since 1967, we will continue to protect the legal rights of our clients – those who are hurt on the job while working for Alabama employers. If you have been injured on the job and want to learn your rights, please consider contacting the Nomberg Law Firm. Our office number is 205-930-6900.
Bernard D. Nomberg has been a lawyer for more than 20 years. Bernard has earned an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell’s peer-review rating. In 2019, Bernard was named a Super Lawyer for the 7th year in a row.