If you're not happy with the representation you're getting from your workers' comp attorney, you may be wondering if there's anything you can do about it. The good news is, yes, you can switch attorneys – even in the middle of your case. However, before making that decision, there are a few things you need to know. In this blog post, we'll discuss the consequences of terminating the attorney-client relationship and what to expect if you decide to switch lawyers. We'll also help you understand when changing workers' comp attorneys is the right thing to do and how to go about doing it. This is Switching Workers' Comp Attorneys in the Middle of Your Case: What You Need to Know.
Before Hiring a Workers' Compensation Lawyer, Here Are a Few Things to Think About
First, you should be aware that finding another workers' comp lawyer to argue your case after you dismiss your first one may be more difficult. Many attorneys consider this a warning flag for a potential client. More significantly, attorneys understand that they would likely make less money if they were hired after another attorney had already worked on the matter (more below).
Second, consider why you want to discharge your lawyer. There are certainly good reasons to switch attorneys without hesitation—for example, if your lawyer is unprofessional or does not keep in touch with you. Many clients, dissatisfied with the lengthy delays in their case, point the finger at their attorneys when the true cause is elsewhere. It's critical to have realistic expectations about what an attorney can and cannot influence.
Reasons Injured Workers Look for New Workers' Comp Attorneys
Let's take a closer look at some of the most prevalent reasons employees become dissatisfied with their workers' compensation lawyers—and whether changing attorneys can help the circumstances.
My Workers' Comp Case Is Taking A Very Long Time
Nothing happens quickly in a workers' compensation case. A simple request for medical records can easily take four to six weeks, and it could take many more months for you to be scheduled for a Qualified Medical Evaluation. The huge backlog of cases in most workers' comp courts can lead to further delays. In the vast majority of cases, blaming your attorney for these delays is like blaming the waiter because your steak isn't cooked properly. The fault usually lies with the chef, not the server. In most circumstances, hiring a new attorney won't speed up your case. In fact, there's a better chance that switching lawyers will postpone matters even further, especially if your workers' comp hearing is approaching.
My Workers' Comp Lawyer Doesn't Return My Inquiries
If your attorney isn't keeping you informed on the development of your case, then it's possible something is wrong, or not. Always remember that legal assistants and paralegals may be able to provide you with a wealth of knowledge regarding the workers' compensation process as well as your case in particular. If your counsel is unavailable when you call, request that a phone conference or an in-office meeting be scheduled as soon on as possible. Make it clear to your attorney at the next meeting that you want improved communication. Your lawyer should pay attention to your complaints and take steps to improve. If your complaints fall on deaf ears, then you might consider changing attorneys so long as your complaints are legitimate.
My Workers' Comp Attorney Does Not Appear To Know The Law
We hope you're obtaining useful information from Switching Workers' Comp Attorneys in the Middle of Your Case: What You Need to Know. Changing workers' compensation attorneys is a huge decision, but it may be the case that you need more representation than you currently have. It's always a smart idea to consult with an attorney before making a final decision when you're unsure. Before deciding whether or not to move on your own, consider the consequences of terminating the attorney-client relationship and how switching attorneys might affect your case. If you still have concerns after reading this blog post, please don't hesitate to contact us for assistance. We're here to help you with your case and answer any queries you might have.
My Workers' Comp Lawyer Is Not Working Hard Enough On My Case
A competent workers' comp attorney is a fighter, not a bystander. You have every right to inquire about the actions your lawyer has taken to advocate on your behalf. Always remember to be professional. Getting answers to some of these questions could help you in your decision-making process:
Letters of Representation to the Insurance Company
Has the attorney sent out letters of representation or is the adjuster still call you directly? If the adjuster is unaware of your attorney several weeks after you hire the lawyer, then you might decide the work isn't getting done. However, consider there are legitimate reasons for delay. Inquire with your lawyer's office as stated above.
Help Selecting the Best Treating Physicians Within the Medical Network
Your lawyer should know how to help you find better care within the Medical Provider Network. If you've been waiting for a change of primary treating physician, and it doesn't appear that anything is being done, contact the workers' compensation law office. Similarly, if you are waiting to see a second opinion.
Appear in Court and Engage in Negotiations Over Benefits
If you are not being paid benefits that you think you deserve, is your actively lawyer fighting for them? Your lawyer should be appearing in court over disputes that you have. Your lawyer should appear in court for you, but you will receive the notices and should inquire about them
What Happens to the Workers' Comp Attorney's Fee If I Fire My Lawyer?
Workers' compensation attorneys typically work on a percentage of the benefits received by their clients in an award or settlement. California State law governs attorneys' fees in workers' compensation cases—usually capped at 15% of the benefits. When multiple attorneys have handled your case, they divide the cost according to how much work each has done. If they can't come to an agreement on a fee-sharing arrangement, the dismissed attorney may file an “attorney's lien” on your workers' comp claim and ask the court for a fee when your case is closed.
Disadvantages to Switching Workers' Comp Attorneys Mid Case
On the surface, splitting a single fee among several attorneys appears to be a good deal for clients. The disadvantage of this setup is that it becomes much more difficult for customers to locate another counsel after terminating their first. Attorneys' fees in workers' compensation cases are already extremely low-margin even under the most favorable conditions. As a result, most attorneys are hesitant to take on new cases that pay only a fraction of their usual fee.
How To Switch Workers' Compensation Lawyers Mid Case
This has been Switching Workers' Comp Attorneys in the Middle of Your Case: What You Need to Know. Bear in mind that you've presumably hired your attorney for his or her legal expertise in the field of workers' comp. While it can be tempting to second-guess your lawyer's actions or strategy, to some extent you simply must trust your attorney's instincts and judgment. But, if you read this article and believe you want to speak with a lawyer about a switch, give 866-NAPOLIN a call for a free consultation.
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