If you have a work-related injury in Illinois, you may consider seeking out legal help. First thing, you should consider what kind of attorney would best fit your criteria and interview them. This first meeting is an initial consultation and is your chance to really dig in and ask some important questions, make observations and evaluate to determine if they would be a good fit for you and your case.
You’ll want to have a list of questions in mind to ask relating to the lawyer’s expertise, experience, fees, special knowledge and management of the case. Listed here are seven questions to help guide you in your consultation.
Q: Will you be handling my case personally? Who will be doing the bulk of the work?
A: It is common for lawyers to delegate appropriate tasks to associates and/or paralegals. One Chicago work comp firm is famous for hiring really young lawyers and giving them tons of cases without much training or supervision. Chances are you spent some time finding this experienced workers compensation lawyer, and the last thing you’d want is for him/her to pass off your case to another attorney. You will want to make sure your hired lawyer is the one overseeing everything in your case and doing the high-level work involved.
Q: How much of your practice is devoted to workers’ compensation?
A: You are looking for a specialist in workers’ compensation, so ideally the lawyer should devote a significant portion of his/her practice to representing injured workers, if not 100%. Most of the attorneys we recommend only handle work comp cases. If they are doing any non-injury related cases it’s a bad sign.
Q: What are your fees and how is litigation costs handled?
A: This is obviously an important question to ask upfront. It is important to understand all fees associated with your case before retaining their services. All workers’ compensation attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning they receive a percentage of your settlement. By State law, the fees are capped at 20% of what they recover for you. But there will be expenses and if they ask you to give them money to cover that you should walk away.
Q: How will I know how my case is doing?
A: Communication is the key when working with a lawyer and this question should give you some insight into the attorney’s communication style. Ask the lawyer how often and under what circumstances you can expect to hear from him/her and to be sure you would be receiving periodic status updates. Also, find out if you can expect to hear from them via phone or email.
Q: How many cases have you represented that were similar to mine?
A. Experience matters, so now is the time to make sure they have experience in producing results in similar cases. Feel free to ask about their record of accomplishment, such as the number of cases won or settled. You can even go a step further and ask for references. It’s not always enough that they only do work comp. You want them to understand your injury too if it’s unique.
Q: What is the best strategy for my case?
A. Once you have explained your situation to them, you should get a better idea of how the lawyer values your case and the steps he/she can take in favor of your case. No attorney can ever guarantee a recovery; but an experienced attorney should be able to give you a general assessment of your case, including strategy and possible outcomes.
Q: Is there anything I can do that can help my case?
A: For any successful case, you and your attorney should work as a team. An experienced attorney will understand this and will appreciate your willingness as a resource You may be asked to help answer questions on your case, gather medical records and documents, and to explain details of your injury. Make sure your conversation is thorough and that you know what may be expected of you moving forward.