Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney Dave Cherry describes 9 costly mistakes to avoid when choosing a union workers’ compensation attorney .
MISTAKE #1: Choosing an attorney who does not have enough experience or the right experience. The most important factor in selecting an attorney to represent you in your workers’ compensation lawsuit is the depth of the attorney’s knowledge, skill, judgment and experience in handling claims like yours.
- ADVICE: Choose a workers’ compensation attorney who has in-depth knowledge, skill, judgment and experience in handling workers’ compensation claims like yours. Also, make sure the lawyer has experience and a proven track record of trying workers’ compensation cases like yours. This is the only way you can receive full compensation for your injuries and ensure that you get full justice.
MISTAKE #2: Choosing an attorney based solely on the attorney’s yellow page ad.Often, a yellow page ad does not give you enough reliable information about a lawyer. In fact, the only thing the ad tells you is that the attorney paid for the ad. A flashy ad can make almost any lawyer look like an expert at handling workers’ compensation cases.
- ADVICE: A yellow page ad is a good place to start. Find a lawyer you think may be qualified to handle your claim. Then call and ask the lawyer about his qualifications and experience representing injured workers. Make sure you are satisfied that the Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer has in-depth experience handling cases like yours.
MISTAKE #3: Choosing an attorney because the attorney expects to settle your case. The majority of workers’ compensation cases settle at some point in time. That being said, the only way you can get full compensation for your injuries is for your lawyer to demonstrate to the defendant that your case has been thoroughly prepared and that your lawyer is ready, willing and able to try your case in court. If you hire a “settling attorney” — one who prepares your case expecting to settle your claim and does not want to go to court — you can expect to receive less money for your injuries than if you hired an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
- ADVICE: Make sure you hire a workers’ compensation attorney who has a proven track record that he is willing to commit whatever time, effort and resources are necessary to win your case. That is the only way you will receive full compensation for your injuries.
MISTAKE #4: Choosing an attorney who will not give you personal service. Many attorneys will not talk with you on the telephone and will not return your telephone calls, even if you are already a client. Instead of personally returning your telephone call, the lawyer may have his secretary or paralegal call you to find out what you want. The problem is: You never know how bad a lawyer’s service will be until after you hire him.
- ADVICE: The only way for you to obtain full compensation for your injuries is for you to hire an attorney who promises to personally handle your case from the first telephone call — until you deposit the check into your bank account. Also, make sure the lawyer you hire not only has the necessary knowledge, experience and advocacy skills, but also will give you and your case the personal attention that you want and deserve.
MISTAKE #5: Choosing an attorney who was referred by a friend. When a friend refers you to an attorney, be careful. Yes, your friend probably means well. But your friend may not be the best source for a referral. You see, people often select an attorney because they like him. But you need an attorney who is much more than just a nice person. You need an attorney who has the trial experience to go up against defendants who have an unlimited amount of money to spend litigating your case. Defendants often hire experienced investigators, adjusters and attorneys to work against you. To protect your interests, you need experienced attorneys and investigators working for you.
- ADVICE: Make sure you hire an experienced PA workers’ compensation attorney who has a long-term track record of success.
MISTAKE #6: Choosing an attorney because of the location of his office. You may be inclined to select an attorney who has an office down the street from where you work. Don’t give in to this temptation. This could be a big mistake because what you gain in convenience you may lose in knowledge and experience.
- ADVICE: Make sure the attorney you hire has extensive knowledge, skill and experience in handling workers’ compensation claims. The extra miles you might drive to the lawyer’s office will pay for themselves many times over when you get the amount of money you deserve for your injuries.
MISTAKE #7: Choosing the lawyer who promises you the most money. The amount of money that you can recover for your injuries is based on many factors including: (1) the severity of the injuries; (2) the duration of the injuries; (3) your average weekly wage and corresponding compensation rate; and (4) the amount of medical bills among other things.
One factor that can be equally as important as all these factors combined is the lawyer you hire to represent you. No one can tell you exactly what your case is worth until they review all the relevant facts and documents. Any attorney who promises you a certain amount of money before he knows all the facts is making a promise that he probably can not keep.
- ADVICE: Make sure you hire a skilled, experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who has handled claims like yours — and who is willing to try your case in court. A skillful workers’ compensation lawyer can add significant value to your case and the amount of money that you receive for your injuries.
MISTAKE #8: Choosing an attorney merely because he appears successful. A nice office and an expensive car do not tell you anything about the attorney’s experience in handling serious workers’ compensation cases like yours. The old saying, “Do not judge a book by its cover,” applies here, too.
- ADVICE: Do not hire an attorney merely by appearance. Instead, hire an attorney who has the knowledge, skill, experience, resources and willingness to fight for your rights and to take your case to trial, if necessary. That is the best way to make sure that you get the money you deserve for your injuries.
MISTAKE #9: Choosing an attorney without first reviewing the attorney’s track record. You can get a good idea about an attorney’s experience, knowledge and skill in handling workers’ compensation claims by reviewing the cases the lawyer has settled or taken to trial. Reviewing the attorney’s track record of settlements and verdicts can give you a good idea about how experienced and knowledgeable the lawyer is.
- ADVICE: When you look at an attorney’s track record, see how long it usually takes after a client hires the lawyer for the client to receive money for his injuries. Ask the attorney if his goal is to vigorously prepare your case so it can be tried to a judge’s decision or settled within 12 months. If so, ask the attorney how he will go about accomplishing that goal.
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