Few decisions are as difficult to make as choosing the best lawyer to help you for your case – particularly when you already face the stress, lost income, and pain that comes from being injured. Unless you have experience in the legal system – you may not even know what to look for when deciding what which lawyer is best for you.
As an attorney, these are three things I would ask any lawyer I was considering to hire to help me:
ONE – HOW MANY YEARS HAVE YOU HANDLED WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIMS IN COLORADO?
Malcolm Gladwell wrote the book, Outliers – a study of those extraordinary people in their fields. He discovered that it takes a minimum of 10,000 hours practice and experience to gain mastery over any sort activity.
Experience makes us all better at any skill – and practicing law is no different. If you have a serious injury – your attorney should have at least five years of experience in Colorado handling Workers’ Compensation Injuries. Your attorney should be familiar with the different Judges and Doctors in Colorado to help you present the best case possible.
Each State has different laws and procedures for work injuries. Experience in another State – while helpful – does not prepare a lawyer for the subtle differences that may be critical in your claim.
TWO – WHAT DIFFERENT AREAS OF LAW DO YOU PRACTICE?
Although we would like to be good at everything, the fact is that we can’t be the best at everything. Workers’ Compensation is an extremely complicated area of the law with changing benefits, rules, and deadlines. It simply isn’t an area of the law that can be done casually.
Although a few other claims may be compatible with a work injury – such has Social Security Disability and Disability Discrimination in employment – a lawyer cannot be the best lawyer for too many different types of legal cases.
A lawyer who tells you that he or she personally handles everything from divorce to immigration to landlord – tenant disputes to workers’ compensation cases may be a “jack of all trades and the master of none.”
The lawyer you hire should handle primarily Workers’ Compensation Claims.
THREE – WHAT PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS DO YOU BELONG AS A MEMBER?
For nearly every area of the law – there are professional organizations that get together to help their members keep current on the law and legal tactics affecting their clients and lobby the legislature to make changes in the law to secure better benefits. In addition there are professional organizations made of lawyers who handle one side of claim – for example here in Colorado the Workers’ Compensation Education Association (WCEA) is made up of attorney’s who only represent injured workers.
A lawyer who is serious about helping injured workers will be a member of the WCEA. The WCEA lobbies the legislature for better benefits, and its members discuss by email tactics, problems, and arguments affecting injured workers in Colorado every day.
Hiring a lawyer shouldn’t be a matter of hit and miss – hoping that you have had the good luck to find an honest, hard working, and competent attorney. Call us for a free consultation at 303-780-7329 or click here and ask us these questions to see if Kaplan Morrell are the right attorneys for you.