Choosing a workers’ compensation lawyer is an important and often stressful process. Choosing the wrong lawyer for your claim may result in you not maximising your workers’ compensation settlement. To make the most out of your compensation claim, it is essential you select the right lawyer to represent you.
To make your selection process simpler, we have compiled a list of the 10 questions you should always ask your potential workers’ compensation lawyer.
1. Do I have a potential workers’ compensation claim, based on my circumstances?
The first question you should ask your lawyer is whether you have grounds for a compensation claim, based on the facts of your case. Any good lawyer will get to know you and the specific circumstances associated with your case and make an assessment on the likelihood of you having a viable and successful damages claim.
2. Do you specialise in workers’ compensation injury law in Queensland?
The laws around work accidents can be quite complex. You should therefore aim to find a lawyer that specialises in workers’ compensation injury law in Queensland and one who is recognised by their peers as an expert.
Lawyers in Queensland are rated in the Doyle’s Awards across various injury compensation areas. Gouldson, for example, is regularly recognised as a leading law firm in Queensland for the sixth year in a row in 2020.
3. What area of compensation law do you operate in?
Just as there are many different types of claims, there are just as many areas of compensation law. For example, the questions a car accident lawyer may ask you will be different to the questions a psychological workplace injury lawyer will ask you.
Because your circumstances, injuries and their consequences on your life are unique, so too is your compensation claim. Therefore, it is best that you find a lawyer that operates, and has expertise, in the area of law your claim falls under.
4. Can you explain how the workers’ compensation process works?
The workplace compensation process can be complex. There are two stages to the claims process:
- Statutory Compensation Benefits
- Common Law Damages
The first stage will see you claim through WorkCover Queensland or your employer’s self-insurance until you no longer need medical treatment, have returned to work, or your injuries are assessed as permanent and undergo assessment to conclude your statutory claim.
The second stage, the Common Law Damages stage, will require you to prove that your injuries were the direct result of your employer’s or fellow employee’s negligence.
Your lawyer should be able to walk you the above stages, as well as answer any other questions you have, in terms that you understand.
5. What is the likelihood of a successful claim?
While lawyers obviously cannot make any guarantees, a good compensation lawyer will be able to listen to the individual circumstances of your case and make an assessment as to the likelihood of the success in your claim.
6. How much will I receive from my claim?
While a good compensation lawyer may be able to gauge an estimate of what you could receive, there is simply no way to guarantee an exact amount. However, depending on your situation, your lawyer may be able to seek compensation for:
- The cost of past and future treatment, rehabilitation and medical costs.
- Any loss of income and superannuation, past and into the future.
- Any impacts to your quality of life, like pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment.
Ultimately, it is a major red flag if any lawyer offers you an exact dollar amount.
7. How long will it take to receive an outcome for my claim?
Again, it is important to remember that every compensation claim is unique. Moreover, there are so many variables at play that will affect your claim. It is therefore impossible for compensation lawyers to provide a timeframe for your claim to process.
In saying this, a good lawyer will aim to resolve your claim as efficiently as possible and will give you a reasonable estimate based upon the current situation you are in, as well as the stage of your compensation claim.
8. What do you need from me?
To ensure your claim is processed as efficiently as possible, your workers’ compensation lawyer should outline what they need from you as clearly as possible. Depending on your situation, this may include medical certificates, photographs or other evidence.
Your lawyer should ask you for various authorities to obtain all sorts of records and information regarding your employment, your income, medical history, and various other factors relevant to determine the extent of damages recoverable for your injuries and the impact they have caused in your life.
9. Will you communicate with me throughout my claims process?
You and your compensation lawyer are a team. After all, they are hired to represent you and your best interests. Therefore, any good lawyer will keep you in the loop throughout every stage of the process.
While lawyers may be busy with multiple cases, a good lawyer will reply to your questions quickly and will not be difficult to reach. It may be another red flag if your lawyer is difficult to contact or you seem to only communicate with their assistant.
At Gouldson, for example, you can be sure you’ll speak with the actual lawyer handling your case and they’ll answer your questions as promptly as possible — no matter how many other cases they have open.
10. What is the cost of your legal fees and how do I pay?
Always look to confirm how much your lawyer will charge you for their services. Many personal injury lawyers in Queensland operate on a no win, no fee basis. Depending on the law firm, this could vary enormously depending on the terms of the costs agreement and the basis of charging (an hourly rate, on an item basis, or an agreed lump sum).
Please also be sure to check on the maximum percentage the firm is prepared to cap its professional fees at, as this could be anywhere from 30% of your settlement sum, up to 50%.
How to find a good compensation lawyer
At Gouldson Legal, we always recommend that injured Queenslanders do their own research and look to find a lawyer that they feel best represents them and their interests.
That being said, we’re proud of our long history of helping Queenslanders. We’re confident we have the knowledge and skill to best represent you and to maximise your settlement sum for the injuries sustained. We can guarantee we’ll put the time into knowing you personally and all the specifics of your case.
We’re so confident, in fact, that we offer a free case review. If you want to have your case looked over by one of our qualified lawyers for FREE, scroll down to the form at the bottom of this page and get started.