Even If It’s Not Me
If you have sustained a work-related injury of any significance, take the time to talk to an attorney who handles workers’ compensation cases–preferably a California State Bar Certified Specialist.
Certainly it’s easy for an attorney to recommend getting an attorney to help you with your case because, after all, don’t they make money doing just that? The simple answer is of course. And, don’t let any attorney tell you that you can’t represent yourself in a workers’ compensation matter–that’s simply not true.
What is true, however, is that workers’ compensation cases can be relatively straightforward or they can be complex and involved as a whole, or involve only certain issues which are complex or involved. Assuming your case is one of those cases, are you going to know what to do? Will you know exactly what you need to support your position on a certain issue? Do you need to take the deposition of a doctor or do you need to subpoena certain witnesses or records?
These are just some of the questions you can face trying to handle your own case.
Additionally, although your case may not be particularly complex, an experienced attorney may review or evaluate certain medical or factual evidence and decide a deposition of, for example, a primary treating physician or Qualified Medical Examiner could enhance the value of your case. In a single one-hour deposition, our firm was able to have a primary treating doctor revise the level of impairment from 28% to 72% using both case law and the American Medical Association Guides as our blueprint for questioning the doctor.
In another case, it was necessary to go to trial on a reasonably complex issue. We did not prevail at trial, but we filed for reconsideration (appeal) of the opinion and won that reconsideration– which had the affect of adding another approximately $1.5 million to our settlement.
Other attorneys, not just ours, have had similar results dealing with a variety of issues resulting in more monetary compensation to their clients or more or greater medical care.
As a result of the above, I typically tell all new potential clients, that “even if its not me” see an attorney who handles workers’ compensation and see what they have to say. You are not obligated in any way to retain them. However, if they seem very knowledgeable, you like what they have to say, you like what their “game plan” would be regarding their matter–please consider retaining them. In the vast number of cases, the results of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney will more than make up for the typical attorney fee in your case.