The Questions You Need to Ask a Workers Compensation Lawyer.
If you’re choosing a workers compensation lawyer, it can be hard to know what questions to ask, especially if you’ve never used a lawyer before. But with the right preparation, you can be much more confident you’ll choose the right lawyer and avoid common fee traps.
It’s important to understand that every workers compensation claim is unique, so you need to find the right lawyer for your specific claim. For example, workers compensation claims for police officers are different from those for civilians and require very specific knowledge and experience.
In this article we’ve put together a simple process and questions you can ask to help you choose the best lawyer for your claim and identify the fee traps in some lawyers’ costs agreements.
What do you really need to know about your workers compensation lawyer?
We’ve helped thousands of Australians with their workers compensation claims and we understand that these are probably the four most important things you need to know:
- How do I know if this is the right workers compensation lawyer for me?
- Will I be well looked after?
- Is their costs agreement fair?
- Are they going to get me the biggest possible payout?
In the following sections, we’ll take you through the questions to ask the lawyer and, importantly, how to interpret their answers, to give you peace of mind you’ve made the right choice.
1- How do I know if this is the right workers compensation lawyer for me?
Here are some questions to ask:
Do you specialise in workers compensation claims like mine? Or do you do other claim types as well?
It’s important to find out whether your lawyer is a specialist in workers compensation claims, or if they handle other claim types such as car accidents and medical negligence as well. You’ll always be better off with a lawyer who specialises in workers compensation claims like yours.
Can I talk to you directly about my claim whenever I need to?
While your lawyer will work with their team of legal assistants, paralegals, and other experts, it’s important to know that you can talk to your lawyer if you want to. Doing this shouldn’t cost you extra – read on to learn how to avoid being charged every time you want to talk to your lawyer.
Ask yourself – did the lawyer ask you good questions?
Ask yourself how much interest the lawyer is showing in you and your personal circumstances – they should be asking you more questions than you’re asking them, and guiding you through the process to give you the confidence you need to go ahead with your claim.
2- Will I be well looked after by my lawyer?
One of the best indicators of the experience you can expect from your lawyer is positive Google reviews. If the law firm has a large number of five-star reviews from clients, that’s a good indicator of the kind of service you can expect.
Here are some questions to ask yourself after your first call or meeting:
- What was my initial impression of the firm?
- Did the lawyer show an interest in me?
- Did they speak to me in plain language so that I felt comfortable with the process or did they insert lots of legal terminology that left me confused?
- Did I finish the call or meeting feeling like I knew what the next step was?
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3- Is the lawyer’s costs agreement fair?
There are four common fee traps that you need to look out for, and here are the questions to ask to avoid them.
Will you charge me every time I speak to my lawyer?
Some lawyers charge an hourly rate. This means that every time you call your lawyer you’ll be charged for the time they spend talking to you, which could lead to a nasty surprise at the end of your case. A fairer way to charge is to have set fees for the services they provide.
At Law Partners, we don’t charge by the hour so you don’t have to worry about running up costs when you speak to your lawyer.
If my claim is unsuccessful will I need to pay any costs?
This is a big one… not all no win, no fee agreements are equal! Apart from the professional fees that lawyers charge, there are other costs associated with your claim that might not be covered by their no win, no fee agreement.
These costs are for disbursements (like medical reports) and barrister’s fees and some firms will charge you for them even if your case is unsuccessful.
At Law Partners we win over 99% of our cases, but we won’t charge you for any costs if your case is unsuccessful.
Do you cap your fees?
Workers compensation lawyers in NSW aren’t allowed to charge you a percentage of your final settlement. However, they can cap their fees so that they can’t exceed a certain percentage of your settlement. This is the fairest way to charge you.
Do I need to pay any costs up front?
Disbursements, such as medical reports, can make up a large part of your bill, running into thousands of dollars. Some workers compensation lawyers will ask you to pay some of these fees up front. However, the best workers compensation lawyers will fund these costs for you, so you only need to pay them if your case is successful.
With Law Partners, you can be confident you won’t come across any of these fee traps. Our no win no fee agreement has established a new benchmark for fairness in personal injury law in Australia and covers all costs and disbursements.
4- Are they going to get me the biggest possible workers compensation payout?
This is so important. If your claim is simply ‘processed’, you could miss out on additional lump sums you’re entitled to. Here are the questions to ask yourself to be confident your lawyer will uncover all your entitlements:
Did the lawyer show an interest in me?
It’s important to feel like your lawyer is listening to you, engaging with you and has your best interests at heart. You need to feel like you’re a person, not just a case number.
Did the lawyer ask lots of questions about my personal circumstances?
When your lawyer takes the time to really get to know you, and asks you lots of questions about your life prior to and after your accident, they’re much more likely to uncover additional entitlements. This can mean the difference between you simply getting weekly workers compensation benefits or a significant lump sum payout.
Is my lawyer a specialist?
It’s really important that the lawyer you choose specialises in workers compensation. This will mean they’re dealing with workers compensation claims every day and have the experience to know the specific laws relating to your claim inside out.
When you choose Law Partners, your specialist workers compensation lawyer will build a personal relationship with you and your family to make sure we claim absolutely everything you’re entitled to.
A Doyle’s Guide listed personal injury law professional and one of the country’s preeminent workers compensation specialists, with over 15 years’ experience in delivering optimal outcomes to injured Australians.