How to find a good workers’ compensation lawyer
If you have to deal with a workers’ compensation claim, there’s no doubt that an experienced and effective attorney can help you with your case, particularly in cases with severe injury, permanent disability, or occupational disease. They can make sure you’re getting the compensation you’re entitled to under the law, help when claims are denied, give advice on what to do, and more. But how do you find a good workers’ compensation lawyer to help you? Read on to find out.
What to Look for In a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Before you start looking for a lawyer, it’s important to know what you’re looking for.
Workers’ compensation as a primary practice area.
Law, like medicine, can be a specialized field, and many attorneys take cases in just a few main areas of practice. This allows them to get the experience and deeper knowledge they need to be more effective for their clients. Just as you’d go to a heart specialist for heart troubles, you should go to a workers’ compensation lawyer for help with your workers’ comp case. This may sound obvious, but it can be tempting to ask a friend or relative who is an attorney to help you with your situation for free, even if they have no background in workers’ comp. Think twice before doing this. There can be a lot on the line, including lost wages, compensation for medical care, and compensation for permanent disability. Trusting your case to someone with little or no experience in the area of workers’ comp could result in having your claim unnecessarily denied or not getting your full benefits, which is why it’s best to work with someone who dedicates a significant amount of their practice to workers’ comp.
Years of experience.
Experience in workers’ comp matters. Ideally, you should work with an attorney who has substantial experience handling workers’ comp cases in your state. This is an important point; workers’ comp is a state-run program, with different statutes and procedures that vary by state. That’s why you want someone with workers’ comp experience in your state. (Note that if you work for the federal government, you need to find a workers’ comp attorney who focuses on federal workers’ comp, since that’s a different system.)
A good fit for your case.
Within the practice of workers’ comp, you may find that some attorneys are a better fit than others. For example, some lawyers only want to take cases from the beginning and don’t want to take on cases after a claim has already been denied by the Workers’ Compensation Commission, while others (like us at The Carolina Law Group) welcome such cases. Another example is if you have a particular occupational disease, such as mesothelioma, you should look for an attorney with a track record of success with those particular claims. Most workers’ comp cases are not very specialized, but if you do have special circumstances, look for an attorney who’s a good fit for your case.
Work with an attorney who has a good reputation among your friends and family, their past clients, and/or the legal community. An attorney with a good reputation will have more favorable reviews than unfavorable ones online, may hold positions of responsibility in community or legal associations, and may have received recognition and accolades. For example, attorneys of The Carolina Law Group have been listed among the Legal Elite, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, National Trial Lawyers Top 40 under 40, and Super Lawyers Rising Stars, among others. Accolades like these show that the attorney is recognized and respected by their clients, their peers, and their profession.
One of the biggest complaints people have about their attorneys is how hard it is to get a hold of them. While you’re going through one of the most stressful experiences of your life, trying to recover from an injury or illness and get much needed compensation, you need to know that your attorney is concerned about you and moving your case forward. Look for a lawyer who makes it a priority to keep the lines of communication open. Here at The Carolina Law Group, we make sure to keep our clients up to date on the status of their case through regular contact with their case manager. Plus, we actually give our clients our personal cell phone numbers so they know they can contact us if they need to, which is very rare in our profession!
Good support staff.
You shouldn’t expect to work exclusively with your attorney 100% of the time. It’s common practice to work closely with other members of the support staff, such as paralegals. That’s why it’s important to find a law firm with a team you like and trust, as it can make all the difference between a pleasant experience and a stressful one.
How to Find a Good Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Try a personal referral.
Ask your friends, family members, and coworkers if they have experience with a workers’ comp attorney they recommend. Nothing compares to a personal referral; it can be the most trustworthy review you will ever hear.
Turn to the internet.
If asking for a personal referral doesn’t lead anywhere, the next place to look is the internet. Search “[your city]” and “workers’ compensation attorney.” Start by looking at an attorney’s or law firm’s website to see what they say about themselves, then look for reviews, social media accounts, and other sources to see what other people say. Here are some things to look for as you make a short list of attorneys to follow up on:
– Workers’ comp is one of the main practice areas
– Years of experience
– Experience that’s relevant to your particular case, if applicable
– Testimonials from past clients
– Ratings and reviews
– Evidence of workers’ comp knowledge, e.g., workers’ comp-related blogs on their site or articles published on other sites, YouTube content, quoted by media outlets as an expert, etc.
– Awards, accolades, and recognition
Check the attorney is in good standing.
After you’ve got a short list of attorneys from your internet search, double check that they are indeed licensed to practice in South Carolina and are in good standing with the Bar before you contact anyone. Although it’s rare, it can happen that people unknowingly work with attorneys who misrepresent themselves and either had their license suspended or were never licensed in the state at all. Checking is quick and easy; just go to this directory on the South Carolina Bar website and look up the lawyer’s name.
Schedule a free consultation.
Many attorneys (including us) offer free consultations that come with no obligation. This is not only an opportunity to get free advice about your case, but a chance for both parties to see if you’re a good fit in terms of your case and your personalities. You can learn a lot from these consultations, which are typically short, starting with how you’re treated when you call the office for scheduling – was the person who answered the phone friendly, professional, and efficient? When you’re finally face-to-face with the attorney, ask direct questions. Here’s a list of 5 essential questions to ask before hiring a workers’ compensation attorney.
Schedule a Consultation with the Workers’ Comp Attorneys at The Carolina Law Group
Choosing a workers’ compensation attorney to represent you may feel like a daunting task but hopefully the information above helps. We encourage you to look at our blogs on workers’ comp to learn more and to call us at one of the numbers below to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with us. The workers’ compensation lawyers at The Carolina Law Group help people with workers’ comp issues whether they’re just starting the process, they’ve had a claim denied, or they believe they should be receiving more than they’re getting. We’re here to help you get the compensation you’re entitled to under the law so you can focus on healing and getting back to work.
The Carolina Law Group has four offices in South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.757.5555), and West Columbia (principal office; call 803.881.1110).
Call us at one of our four offices or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys. Our business hours are Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 5:30pm & Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm. Weekend and evening hours by appointment only. Our Greenville, SC law firm offers Spanish, Hindi, and Gujarati language translation services for your convenience.