You‘ve been injured at work. You are either thinking about filing a claim or have already done so. Perhaps you are dealing with an insurance company claims adjuster you don’t really trust. Maybe the insurance company has scheduled you for an independent medical exam (IME), or assigned a QRC to your case. No matter the reason, you are looking for an attorney who can answer some questions for you and protect your interests, if necessary.
You have looked in the phonebook or done a Google search and found dozens of lawyers and law firms who advertise themselves as work comp lawyers. Minneapolis. St. Paul. Duluth. The Iron Range. Who to call? What questions to ask?
These would be some good questions to ask if you are looking for an experienced attorney to help you with your case:
Do you specialize in work comp cases? What you really want to know is if the attorney focuses his or her practice primarily on workers’ compensation claims. You probably don’t want someone who dabbles in work comp, along with divorces, DUIs, wills, real estate, etc. While a general practice law firm can be very helpful on a number of matters, work comp is a complicated and specialized field of practice. We develop skills and knowledge about work comp matters only after years of experience with a variety of injury claims. If work comp is just one of many practice areas an attorney advertises, you may want to look elsewhere. My practice is limited exclusively to workers’ compensation, injury and Social Security disability matters.
Have you taken many cases to trial? There is no substitute for experience. If an attorney has taken lots of cases to trial over a number of years, you can assume that you are talking to someone with a lot of experience. Taking cases to trial is important for several reasons. For one thing, at trials we appear before a variety of different judges and learn what to expect in each judge’s courtroom. It’s also important to take cases to trial because sometimes that’s the only way to get a fair result. If the attorney for the insurance company knows that your lawyer will take a case to trial, they are much more likely to make a fair settlement offer. I’ve been trying work comp cases for my injured clients all across northern Minnesota for over 28 years.
Do you have experience with my type of injury? Over the past 28 years, I have had experience with just about every kind of injury one could imagine. So, when a new client comes to me and asks if I’ve ever handled a shoulder surgery claim, a lead poisoning claim, a cervical fusion case, a brain injury claim, a quadriplegia case or a carpal tunnel claim, I can answer “yes”. I can also suggest a variety of surgeons or medical specialists who might be able to help my client with medical treatment and a supportive letter or medical report for the claim.
Are you familiar with northern Minnesota? Why is this important? Well, it certainly helps if your attorney knows the local medical providers, vocational rehabilitation consultants and employment services and opportunities. It helps to know all about the mining industry, construction industry, tourism and logging industry across northern Minnesota, and what my clients do at those jobs. It might even help if your attorney has actually operated a forklift, a loader, a chainsaw or a jackhammer. (Or delivered Hamm’s beer from Eveleth to Ely, which I did many years ago : ) If you are looking for a new job after a work injury, you need every advantage you can get in a tough economy. As an Eveleth native and resident of northern Minnesota for over 50 years, I know my way around the Iron Range – and that’s good for my clients.
What We Recommend
If you feel that it’s time to have someone in your corner while you battle the insurance company, or if you simply have a few questions about your claim or the work comp system, please give me a call. Don’t be afraid to contact us, anytime, if I can answer some questions for you. It won’t cost you anything and I will always give you my honest assessment about whether you need a lawyer to represent you.
Remember, you are dealing with an insurance company which handles hundreds or thousands of claims every day. They have experienced claims adjusters and attorneys managing their files. Even if you don’t need a lawyer at the moment, a little information about how the work comp system works can make a big difference for you in your dealings with the insurance company.
If you have questions about how much it costs to hire us (nothing), this earlier post should answer those questions for you.
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