If you or a loved one experiences a severe or fatal injury on the job, you aren’t alone. In 2021, there were over two million workplace injuries and 5,190 fatalities. If you don’t know your legal rights to compensation or how to negotiate a claim, an industrial accident lawyer can help.
For most people, hiring an attorney is a new experience. How do you decide if a lawyer is right for you? Here are a few questions to ask to ensure you hire the best lawyer for your case.
1. How Long Has Your Firm Worked on Industrial Accident Cases?
A firm may have lots of experience but look elsewhere if they haven’t handled industrial accidents. You need someone with legal expertise in handling claims similar to yours.
Lawyers handling personal injury claims from industrial accidents understand that a company’s liability may be enhanced if your injury is due to non-compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Other areas of legal expertise for industrial accidents include the law regarding personal injuries, the litigation process and requirements of the court for filing a lawsuit, discovery, depositions, court appearances, and more.
The initial consultation is an opportunity to determine if the firm has the experience to negotiate your case and see if your personalities mesh effectively. You will work closely with your lawyer for the duration of your case, so you need to feel comfortable with them. This is a no-obligation consultation, so don’t sign a contract if there are any red flags; take time to think it over.
2. How Will You Approach My Case?
Do not expect detailed step-by-step procedures. You are looking for the attorney’s initial thoughts about settling your case.
Every case is different. As the case progresses through discovery and the attorney learns more about the incident, their strategy may change. They may base their answers strictly on the information you provide during the consultation.
Your lawyer may collect accident reports, medical records, witness statements, and other relevant information. Depending on the type of incident, they may request an accident report from OSHA or a history of OSHA violations by the company. They will make informed decisions on how to proceed throughout litigation.
3. Who Will Be Handling My Case?
Depending on the firm’s size, you may meet with the attorney who will handle your case, an intake attorney, or a paralegal. The case may then be assigned to an attorney in the firm best suited to your claim.
Lawyers spend considerable time in court and may not be available to speak with you directly at your requested times. Find out who to contact if you have questions about how the case is proceeding, need to drop off information, or sign paperwork. This may be a paralegal, legal assistant, or legal secretary.
Your attorney’s paralegal or legal assistant will be knowledgeable about your case. These professionals provide help to attorneys, including trial preparation, research, preparing pleadings, and more.
They cannot give clients legal advice, including their opinion on your case or how you should proceed. That is the unauthorized practice of law. They can, however, get an answer to your question from the attorney and pass that answer to you.
4. What Kind of Settlement Can I Expect?
Some expenses will receive direct reimbursement when working on workplace injuries, including medical bills and lost wages. Determining factors for settlement include the severity of the injury, part of the body injured, and whether it is permanent and life-altering.
An attorney may estimate what you could receive, but they cannot guarantee a settlement amount. Depending on the extent of your injuries, they may only be able to determine how much they will demand once they receive a long-term prognosis from your medical provider.
5. How Soon Will You File a Lawsuit?
There are several deadlines in Louisiana that your industrial accident attorney should be familiar with. Some of those deadlines include, but are not limited to, time to notify your employer, time to file for medical benefits, time to file for lost wages, and time to file for temporary or partial disability. There are also deadlines to file a lawsuit.
If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit, you lose your opportunity to collect damages, even if compelling evidence shows your employer was at fault.
This is why hiring a lawyer soon following an accident can be essential. Your attorney needs to investigate, gather evidence, write and file a petition with the court, and serve it on the other party or opposing counsel. Steps must comply with the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure and local court rules to prevent your case from being dismissed.
6. What Can I Do to Help?
Your attorney will let you know if there is anything you can do to move your case forward. This may include signing medical releases authorizing the attorney to obtain medical records or providing them with a list of potential witnesses. You should also inquire whether there is anything you should not do because it may hinder your case.
7. What Will This Cost Me?
Industrial accident attorneys handle cases on a contingency fee. This means you only pay fees if they win your case. If you do not win your case, you owe nothing.
Once a settlement is reached or you win at trial, the attorney will collect a percentage of your award. The attorney may deduct certain office expenses relative to your case in addition to their legal fees. This includes the cost of filing the lawsuit and obtaining records.
Your attorney will explain how their contingency fee works when you sign your contract.
Contact an Industrial Accident Lawyer
When it comes to workplace injuries, you need an industrial accident lawyer from Talbot, Carmouche & Marcello on your side. Our firm has over 50 years of experience fighting for our clients.
We understand investigation and negotiation procedures for industrial accident claims. Schedule your free consultation today. We’ll work on your case while you concentrate on recovery.