How To Select The Best Workers’ Comp Attorney You Can Afford
Your main objective is to get well and return to the workforce and the stress of trying to handle your claim on your own may actually complicate or hinder your recovery. Illinois worker’s compensation cases are very complex and can get extremely technical as the employer will bring in their experts to testify against you. Unfamiliar terms such as “MMI,” “TTD benefits,” “PPD benefits,” “19-B petition,” “section 16(k) penalties,” and “8(d)(1) case will be used throughout the hearing by the insurance company’s attorney as a tactic to intimidate you and keep you from arguing against their findings. An experienced and qualified attorney will not only speak the same “language,” they will be able to spot the issues that will maximize your recovery while minimizing the deficiencies in your case.
How will you know the right attorney for you and your case? They all say they are the best or something to that effect. You need to get to the right lawyer and sort out the bad ones quickly.
To assist you in getting through this process, I have found that most people face the following issues shortly after being injured;
1. Do I need to hire an attorney to represent me in this case?
2. How do I determine the right attorney for my case?
3. Family, friends, or others have recommended an attorney. How do I know if he or she is right for me?
No matter which way you go, you should start the process as soon as possible after the accident. This usually means within days, or at least the first few weeks, depending on your injuries. You can rest assured that your employer’s insurance company has a team of people working on the case in an attempt to reduce the amount they will have to pay you in the end.
Do I need an attorney to represent me? I recommend that, in almost all cases, it is a good idea to obtain the advice of an attorney. Often times I recommend to individuals that they handle the case themselves. We live in a society where all too many people are sue happy. Although I advocate that people should be properly compensated for their injuries, I do not advocate the filing of lawsuits based on frivolous claims or the refusal to settle minor incidents with insurance companies who are offering reasonable settlements. If your case involves a significant amount of medical bills, lost wages, and other damages, it is likely that hiring an attorney will substantially benefit you in the end.
Before making this decision, it is important to understand how a workers’ compensation attorney is compensated. Although many people have a general idea about this, most people do not understand the details contained in the Workers’ Compensation attorney/client contract. The contract is based on a contingency fee and ALL WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CONTRACTS ARE THE SAME. Contingency means the attorney is compensated based on a percentage of the settlement or judgment that is received in the case. The percentage is generally fixed at 20%. If you have received a written offer from the insurance company the attorney is limited to 40% of the increased award. The 20%, or 40%, as the case may be, is only of the PPD benefits generally plus any other disputed benefits. The attorney is not compensated for the TTD or medical bills unless the employer disputes them.
The best answer to the question of whether or not to hire a lawyer is to contact an experienced attorney and seek advice as to whether or not they recommend you retain legal counsel for your particular situation. I invite you to contact me for a free, honest evaluation of your case. Again, often times I recommend that people handle a case themselves and give them a substantial amount of advice and information on just how to do it. You are always welcome to contact my firm to seek advice on the best course of action for your given circumstances.
How do I select the right attorney for my case? Although there are many criteria to consider in the selection of an attorney, probably the most important are experience with cases of your type, a proven long track record of success, and testimonials from people just like yourself giving you assurance that you will be satisfied throughout the process. Client testimonials can be viewed directly on my website at www.RobertEdensLawOffice.com and new ones are continually being added.
I have over 20 years of legal experience representing thousands of injured workers’. It is important that you select an attorney that can take your case to the end. Not only have I represented thousands of injured victims, but I have tried hundreds of cases both in front of juries and judges, as well as taken many cases to winning appeals. I am known for my aggressive, no nonsense, approach to insurance pre-litigation negotiations. Once a complaint is filed, I will use a streamlined and fast tracked method of getting the case settled or achieving judgment through a hearing.
My legal team is experienced at gathering evidence and using the latest technology to strongly persuade the insurance companies to give you the money you deserve. Everyone at my firm knows how the legal game is played and will be here to help you with everything from answering questions to preparing you for a hearing if necessary.
It is through my years of experience, knowledge of evidence and technology, along with my relationships with the players in the insurance field that has earned me the reputation as a top notch negotiator and the leading workers’ compensation attorney throughout Northern Illinois.
As soon as I become involved in your case, myself and my team will immediately begin the process of gathering evidence to support your claim. This will include obtaining medical records, doctor’s notes, narratives, accident reports, and accident reconstruction, if required. It does not matter whether you were injured by faulty equipment or even your own negligence, you need to immediately gather and preserve the evidence necessary to secure your worker’s rights. I have handled cases involving wrongful death, catastrophic injuries, premises liability, product liability, and many others. I have the resources necessary to pursue your claim and level the playing field between you and your employer’s insurance company.
Family, friends or others have suggested an attorney; how do I know if he or she is right for me? I am often called by individuals who have been referred by family, friends, or others. Unlike many other attorneys, I will be the first to admit when I am not the right attorney to handle your case and whenever possible, I will recommend an attorney who is. It bothers me greatly when a lawyer is asked if they will accept a workers’ compensation case and they agree to do so even if they have little or no experience in the field. By doing this, they are doing themselves, and their clients, a great disservice. I have been asked by many clients to aid them in their legal issues regarding copyright infringement, bankruptcy issues, contract issues, and real estate issues. All areas are outside my field. The best I can do is refer a competent attorney that I know who practices in the area or tell them how to find one.
How then do you know if the attorney you are calling is right for you? The first thing you can do is ask questions such as, how much of the practice is devoted to workers’ compensation? Do they have a website you could review? Have they written and published any books or other materials in the field of workers’ compensation? How many cases of your type has the practice handled? How many workers’ compensation hearings has he/she done? Has the attorney ever done appellate work? Do they have client testimonials relating to workers’ compensation cases? What kind of settlements have they received? How many attorneys work at their firm? Each of these questions will help you decide on the right attorney to handle your case.
With regard to the last question, often times it may seem that firms with a large number of attorneys are beneficial. However, the answer to this may be just the opposite because in today’s economy many of the large firms are finding it more and more difficult to maintain the high cost of high priced lawyer salaries and as a result they are taking on more and more cases of a smaller size than they had in prior years. Then the smaller cases get buried in a pile on an associate’s desk at the firm, getting little or no attention. Don’t let your case become a victim to this type of large law firm. Your case deserves personal, individualized, attention.
If you select The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, I will personally handle your case, giving it the attention it requires for a successful outcome. When you call my office, not only will the phone be answered by someone who knows you personally, but also knows the status of your case. We pride ourselves on client communications; keeping our clients abreast of where their case stands at all times. If at any time you can’t reach me personally, because I am conducting a trial or with another client, my staff, who knows you personally, will be able to assist you.
Not only will you always be informed of the status of your case and its current progress, you will be kept informed of any negotiations with the insurance company and any offers made on your case will be conveyed to you as soon as they are made, often the same day. If your case can’t be settled favorably, you will know well in advance and be thoroughly prepared by my team of experts before going to a hearing. No settlement will ever be made on your case without your authority. I will make it clear and you will understand exactly what costs will be incurred on your behalf and how they will impact your case. No rock will go unturned in an effort to maximize the amount of money you get for your injury.
I have handled cases involving brain injuries, loss of limbs and catastrophic injuries. I have extensive experience with injuries to the back, neck, knees, hips, wrists, shoulders, ankle injuries, and many more. It is not only important that your attorney have experience with the type of injury, he/she must be experienced in anticipating what the insurance company’s position will be and what maneuvers they will use in an attempt to devalue your case. Most workers’ compensation cases involve a battle of the experts. This means that your treating physicians will be testifying concerning your injuries and the cause of those injuries and they are experts in medicine, not law. On the other hand, the insurance company will hire an outside doctor who routinely testifies on their behalf, reporting on the nature of your injuries and whether or not they were caused by the incident involved. It is this expert testimony that requires a seasoned attorney with knowledge of your particular injury and how to counter the defense’s expert opposition.