TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES:
Give Yourself a Fighting Chance To Hire the Right Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
You’re working hard, paying the rent and putting food on the table. You have plans: to put your kids through college, to take a vacation, to save for retirement. The next thing you know, your life is turned upside-down and inside-out, and you wonder if it-or you-will ever be the same.
What happened? You had an accident. You stepped wrong and blew out a knee. You fell from a scaffold. Or down an elevator shaft, or tumbled down an elevator that wasn’t properly inspected. Maybe your boss’s safety rules and worksite weren’t OSHA-compliant. Or maybe they were, but accidents happen. Perhaps you do asbestos abatement, or construction, or demolition, and a trench collapses, or a roof caves in. Maybe you’re a health care worker who for many hours a day cares for a disabled patient. Your accident isn’t your fault-you try your best to work safe and smart.
It’s not your fault, but you’re the one who has to suffer.
Many demolition and construction laborers, asbestos removers, health care providers, and other workers injured on the job are shocked to learn that workers’ compensation benefits aren’t automatic-you are often forced to fight for your weekly benefit check and medical bills. Who are you fighting? An insurance company. And, as everyone knows, most insurance companies don’t bang down your door to hand you what is rightfully yours.
So you need a lawyer. And while New York allows any lawyer to put on his web site that he handles workers’ compensation cases, do you really want to trust your case to a lawyer who kind of knows what he’s doing? To find that when a lawyer’s web site says that he does workers’ comp, in fact the lawyer doesn’t really do workers’ comp, but only hands off his cases to some other lawyer in another firm?
After more than thirty years handling workers’ compensation cases, I’m happy to offer these pointers for how to give yourself a fighting chance to hire the right workers’ compensation lawyer to bring you the justice you deserve.
•1. Whether you find a lawyer on the web, or as a referral from a friend or relative, don’t jump to hire him until you’ve asked him the right questions.
•2. Will the lawyer or someone in his firm handle your case, or will he refer your case to someone else altogether? Take time to think whether you want to trust your case to someone who advertises that he handles workers’ compensation cases–when in truth, he doesn’t.
•3. For how many years has he handled workers’ compensation cases?
•4. Does he do any other kind of law besides workers’ compensation? If so, how much of his time does he spend on workers’ compensation cases?
•5. If a lawyer advertises that he handles workers’ compensation cases, but in truth he doesn’t– ask him why he advertises that he does-it’s important to evaluate whether you feel you can trust a lawyer before you hire him.
In the end, you must be your own best advocate-I’m grateful to have this chance to help educate and empower New York’s working men and women.