How to Choose the Best Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Your Claim
You need a lawyer who knows the New York workers’ compensation system
When you’re hurt on the job in New York, the last thing you want to do is face the workers’ compensation system alone. You need a lawyer – and just as importantly, you need the right lawyer. Navigating the workers’ compensation process requires experience, dedication and resources, and you only get one opportunity to start your claim on the right foot.
With strong legal representation on your side, moving your workers’ compensation case forward becomes a lot easier. Here’s what you need to keep in mind to choose the best New York workers’ compensation lawyer for your claim.
First, look for a New York law firm that focuses their practice on workers’ comp.
Whenever you need a professional service, you want to go to someone who has experience and knowledge in the specific area where you need help. That’s true when you’re looking for a doctor, and it’s just as true when you need a lawyer.
Workers’ compensation is a complex, highly technical area of law, with specific deadlines and legal standards that apply to different types of claims. It also varies substantially from state to state, and to an extent, even by jurisdiction within the same state – the laws are the same, but the judges are different people who assess claims differently.
In short, if you’re hurt on the job in New York, you need a law firm that knows the workers’ compensation system in New York, and that knowledge only comes with years of experience.
Look for attorneys with credentials, too.
One key mark of quality in a workers’ compensation attorney is membership in professional organizations focused on protecting injured workers’ rights, such as the Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG) and the Workers’ Compensation Section of the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Members of these organizations are dedicated to the practice of workers’ compensation law and advocacy for injured workers both in New York and nationally. They also have access to the latest research, strategies, and trial techniques, plus a larger network of workers’ compensation lawyers who collaborate on cases.
Likewise, look for attorneys and law firms that have been recognized by organizations such as Super Lawyers or Best Lawyers for their work in the workers’ compensation field. These awards use exhaustive peer review processes to recognize attorneys who earn consistently positive evaluations from other lawyers.
The right attorney will ask plenty of questions.
Effective workers’ compensation attorneys are detail-oriented and know how to get to the bottom of complex cases. That starts with your initial consultation. We need to know how the injury happened, what your symptoms are, and what your medical prognosis is.
Workers’ compensation may be a business, but it’s also highly personal to the injured worker. The type of medical treatment and medication you need, for instance, will depend in part on your pain tolerance, your overall health, and how your body responds to treatment. The insurance company will try to push you toward the cheapest medications and medical interventions because that saves them money. Our job is to advocate for your needs and your interests throughout the process.
Come prepared to ask the attorney questions, too.
A consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney is meant to be a two-way street. The attorney will assess your potential case, but you should also assess the attorney and determine whether they’re the right fit for your case. Some of the questions you should ask in a consultation include:
- How many workers’ comp cases have you handled?
- Have you represented workers with injuries like mine?
- What is your success rate in workers’ comp cases?
- Who will be working on my case?
- Will I have access to my attorney to answer questions and concerns?
- How long do you expect my claim to take to resolve?
There are some questions that can’t be definitively answered in the initial consultation, since they depend on how your medical treatment goes and how difficult the workers’ compensation insurance company decides to be. However, your attorney should give you their best estimate based on their experience and be upfront and straightforward about those uncertain factors.
Feel free to talk to more than one law firm.
Especially if you have a permanent injury, workers’ compensation can be a lengthy and challenging process that will involve many candid conversations with your attorney. You need to be sure that you are comfortable talking to your lawyer and confident that they will act in your best interests. If you’re not sure about the first attorney you speak with, feel free to talk to one or two more. This is a significant decision, and you don’t want to rush it.
That said, you also can’t afford to delay. There are strict deadlines in the workers’ compensation system, and we need to start our investigation and start building your case as soon as possible. If you’ve been hurt on the job, make an experienced workers’ compensation attorney your first call. We’d be happy to meet with you for a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation.
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