Workers’ compensation is often a fairly complex process. After sustaining an injury on the job, you will have to deal with several things to get a fair settlement for your case. For example, you will have to struggle with lots of paperwork, negotiate with your employer’s insurance carrier, and much more. Knowing this, you may have decided to hire a workers’ compensation attorney to get expert advice during the process and increase your chances of success. However, things may not be going as smoothly as you had hoped.
After a work-related injury, you will need to secure workers’ compensation benefits as soon as possible. So, if your case seems to be stalled or if you’re unhappy with your attorney’s work, it’s easy to feel frustrated and hopeless. But how can you tell if your attorney is doing a poor job or if what’s happening is just part of the process?
Here are seven signs that your workers’ compensation attorney is doing a bad job. By identifying these warning signs, you will know that the attorney is being detrimental to your interests and that you should start thinking seriously about a replacement.
1. Unclear billing
One of the first things you should discuss with your attorney is their fee structure. Most workers’ compensation attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you won’t have to pay them until you are compensated.
Before you receive your settlement, you will pay the attorney a percentage, which can range from 10% to 30%, depending on the state you live in and the complexity of your case.
However, if the attorney hasn’t discussed this with you and refuses to do so until you receive compensation, it should be a significant sign that your case isn’t being handled correctly.
2. Poor communication
Have you found yourself calling your attorney incessantly to get updates on your case, and they are not responding? If you have, then you know how frustrating and infuriating it can be.
Your attorney should be keeping you informed about your case at all times. And if they can’t answer a call at a particular time, they should make sure to call you back as soon as possible.
However, some lawyers don’t or can’t communicate consistently or effectively. If you have to remind your attorney to work on your case, you may be working with someone irresponsible and careless.
3. No settlement is being negotiated
The vast majority of workers’ compensation cases are resolved through a settlement. Negotiating a settlement is usually the best decision for both you and the insurance company. That way, both of you will be saved from dealing with the hassle and expense of going to court to resolve the case.
Your attorney should begin negotiating a settlement after you reach your MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement). If you don’t receive updates after that, then you should start to worry.
On the other hand, if your attorney suggests that you accept an insufficient offer, it may be a sign that they didn’t try to negotiate with the insurance company to maximize your settlement.
4. The lawyer is pressuring you to settle
Reliable attorneys will explain your situation carefully, and if an excellent offer comes along, you will know precisely why you should accept it. However, certain attorneys may try to pressure you into accepting a settlement, even if it appears to be a lowball offer from the insurance company.
Why does this happen? The answer is simple: some attorneys just want to settle as many cases as they can in as little time as possible. This practice may help the attorney increase their law firm’s numbers, but it won’t be in your best interests.
You are not obligated to accept a lowball offer; don’t let a questionable attorney pressure you into doing so.
5. The lawyer isn’t guiding you through the process
As mentioned above, the workers’ compensation process can be very complicated. When you hire an attorney, their primary job should be to guide you through every step of the way. Therefore, if you are in the dark about what is going on with your claim, or you are never aware of what the attorney is doing for you, something may be going wrong.
If you constantly find yourself unprepared for critical events related to your claim, you may have a severe communication problem with your attorney. You should try to fix this situation as soon as possible, or it could end up hurting your claim.
6. The lawyer asked you to change your claim
Has your attorney asked you to change certain things about your claim to help you secure a “better settlement”? If that is the case, you should be extremely careful about what you agree to do next, as you could be on the verge of committing workers’ compensation fraud.
Some attorneys may tell you that by changing specific details about your claim, such as the actual extent of your injuries or the body part where you were injured, you may be able to obtain a better settlement. However, as you can imagine, this is entirely illegal.
If you get caught, you could lose the right to any compensation for your injuries, and you could even end up going to jail for it. The risk is not worth it.
7. The lawyer is dishonest
Workers’ compensation is not an easy or straightforward process. Many times attorneys may have to break the bad news to their clients. Some may think that hiding this information is the best course to keep their clients happy, but that is not the case.
They should notify their clients of everything that happens, good or bad, and advise them on what they should do next.
Suppose you suspect that your lawyer is not being honest with you about your case or is concealing information from you. In that case, you will need to clarify the situation or start thinking about a replacement.
Don’t jeopardize your workers’ compensation benefits by working with a bad lawyer. If you spot any of these signs, you may need to start looking for a replacement quickly if you want to secure the compensation you deserve.
Fear not; many workers’ compensation attorneys in Burbank, like C&B Law Group, are ready to help you with your claim. Visit their website and schedule a free consultation if you have any more questions about the subject.
Once you hire a lawyer you can genuinely trust, you will be able to keep your peace of mind and focus on your recovery while letting the professional take care of securing a fair settlement for you.