How to Win Your Work Injury Case
If you have been seriously injured at work, you may be concerned about whether your legal, financial, and medical rights will be protected. You are probably wondering if you will get fired, and if your medical bills will get paid. What happens if you can’t return to work at your normal job, or if the insurance company is playing games with you? How do you collect workers’ compensation insurance? Are you even entitled to workers’ comp after your on-the-job injury? How do you win your work injury case?
Work injuries can get complicated quickly. Unfortunately, you are at an immediate disadvantage because your employer has insurance adjusters and lawyers on call, ready to protect their bottom line at the expense of you and your future.For example, did you know that if you were hurt working at sea or on an offshore drilling rig, then you probably aren’t legally entitled to any workers’ compensation benefits at all? Find out more about offshore work injury cases and the Jones Act.
Texas Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you’ve been hurt while working in a job that is land-based, then in most states, your employer and its insurance company are required to pay workers’ compensation benefits to you. These benefits include wage replacement and payment for medical care. Unfortunately, the insurance companies have a lot of power when it comes to making decisions related to your wage replacement and medical benefits. If you’re not careful, you run the risk of losing your legal rights or allowing the insurance company to take advantage of you when you are most vulnerable.
How we can help you if your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance
Unlike most states, employers in Texas are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. When your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, then your employer is considered a “non-subscriber” and your legal rights are different than if your employer has workers’ compensation insurance for job injury claims. Find out more about non-subscriber cases.
How to know if you have a third party claim
When your employer has workers compensation insurance, in most situations, you are not allowed to sue for negligence. Your only recourse is workers’ comp benefits, which can be quite minimal. However, if your injury was caused by a person, company, piece of machinery, or someone other than your employer, then you may be able to bring a negligence case against that person or company under a “third party” legal claim. There are a lot of complications in third party claims, and without the right lawyer, your legal rights may not be protected.
If a piece of equipment or machinery caused or contributed to your injury, then you may be able to bring a products liability claim against the seller, distributor, designer, or manufacturer of the equipment or machinery. Product liability claims are time-consuming, costly, complicated, and require the services of a law firm with the expertise to win cases against large corporations and their armies of insurance adjusters and lawyers.
Why you need our successful legal team on your side when you’ve been hurt at work
When you’ve been hurt at work, you need to focus on getting better and getting your life back on track. You don’t have the experience or the financial ability to fully investigate your work accident or maximize your compensation. That’s where our team comes in. We can thoroughly dig into the details of your case and discover evidence that may be impossible to find on your own. As soon as you hire us for your case, we get to work. If necessary, we will file a Temporary Restraining Order with the court to make sure the company doesn’t destroy, damage, hide, or tamper with any of the evidence in your case. We investigate to find out if the company violated any safety regulations, hire experts to reconstruct the incident, and make sure the company is held accountable for their safety failures.
While we can’t speak for every attorney, we can talk about how we work with our own clients. We aim to provide full-service solutions for injured workers, and we are willing to investigate even the smallest details that might help give you a stronger case. For example, while looking into your case, our motivated legal team will often:
- Come to the location of your work accident to investigate potential causes and contributing factors. Even straightforward work injury claims can benefit from the kind of hard evidence that comes from having a legal ally investigating and researching what caused your accident and why it happened. When needed, our legal team will arrive on site to support our clients and gather information.
- Call in expert witnesses to evaluate and confirm key evidence. One major benefit of working with an attorney is the access you gain to resources like expert witnesses, accident reconstruction, and other professional services, which can provide key evidence supporting your injury claim.
- Test equipment and safety features for evidence of malfunction. Was faulty or poorly maintained equipment to blame for your accident at work? Our legal team investigates the equipment involved in your accident and if there were safety failures at your place of employment.
- Determine and explain exactly what your options are for pursuing compensation. The laws that cover injured workers in Texas can be very complicated, depending on the specific details of your case. An experienced attorney, however, can quickly identify the routes available to you for pursuing compensation and cover bases you may not have considered, such as third-party claims.
Filing a work injury claim may seem straightforward, but companies will do whatever they can to avoid compensating injured employees. The sooner you get an experienced work injury legal team on your side, the sooner your legal rights are protected and the sooner you can focus on getting better knowing we’re working to get you the best result possible on your case.
Why you should always report work injuries and fill out an accident report
The incident or injury report is one of the most powerful pieces of evidence in any workplace injury case. Juries will place heavy emphasis on the initial incident report, as it is the first piece of evidence that an injury took place. The company’s lawyers will attempt to use an injury report to limit an injured worker’s claim to only those injuries initially included on the report. On the other hand, we use the injury report to show that the injured employee was hurt during the course of their work. You have the right to file an incident report and make sure it is accurate. Only sign the report if you agree 100% with everything on the report.
If no incident report is filed, companies will use the lack of a report as a defense to avoid compensating the injured employee. Whether the company has worker’s compensation insurance or not, the injury and details about the incident should always be reported. If your supervisor pressures you to sign a blank report or pressures you to not file an incident report at all, that is a red flag that the fight between you and the company has already begun.
When a supervisor or manager refuses to allow you to fill out or file an incident report, you can use a blank piece of paper to write your own incident report, making sure to explain in detail what happened and how you were injured, and send the report to the corporate office. Even though it is against the law for employers to harass or threaten you for reporting an injury or pursuing your rights under the law, this illegal behavior is an unfortunate reality. If your company has tried to take advantage of you or deny you your legal rights after you’ve been hurt on the job, it is time to consult an attorney.
What to include when you fill out an accident report
You must be very specific on your accident report because every detail you leave out can and will be used against you by the company’s lawyer. This means you should make sure you include details about:
- Exactly how and when the injury took place
- Every issue you are having with your body after the injury
- The specific parts of your body that are injured – do not omit any detail, no matter how minor.
- The names and job titles of each person who witnessed the incident
If you begin to feel pain in additional parts of your body, or if injuries develop over the next few hours or days, you have the right to go back and amend your incident report. Since the company will use this report to try and say you weren’t injured at work, it is important that the report be as accurate as possible.
Is your employer threatening to fire you after reporting a work accident?
While it is illegal for a company to threaten to fire or fire you for reporting your work injury, companies try to get away with it. It is illegal under both state and federal law to treat a worker unfairly after a work-related accident or to threaten or retaliate against a worker who has filed a work injury claim. The company is required by law to respond appropriately to your claim. That means that many of these threats and intimidation tactics are used because the company assumes you don’t know or understand your legal rights. The harassment usually stops as soon as you start working with an attorney who is experienced in handling work injury claims and can make sure that the company adheres to the law.
Types of intimidation tactics often used against injured workers
What do we mean by harassment and intimidation tactics? It can be hard to sort fact from fiction in the whirlwind of documents and meetings that follow an accident, illness, or injury. Although there are many ways—both subtle and not so subtle—an employer might try to keep you from pursuing a work injury claim, the following are some of the most common:
- Pressuring you not to seek medical care or prescription treatment. Your employer may try to talk you out of seeing a doctor or recommend that you try over-the-counter remedies instead. They may tell you that you have to see a company doctor and can’t follow up with a doctor of your own. If you don’t feel like you’re getting the medical care you need, see your own doctor as soon as possible, and then talk to an attorney about what your rights really are.
- Pressuring you not to file a claim or report an injury. If you don’t fill out an injury report immediately, or if you wait too long to file a claim, it may be impossible for you to pursue compensation for your injuries. However, that doesn’t stop employers or supervisors from trying to talk you out of reporting that you got hurt or telling the truth about how it happened.
- Threatening you with disciplinary action. Your employer may try to take action against you after you have been injured, sometimes blaming you for causing the accident, claiming you have a history of accidents, or otherwise threatening formal discipline. They may go through your employment records to drag out anything in the past they can twist around and use against you now.
- Threatening you with the loss of your job. Some people who have been hurt at work are even threatened with losing their jobs because of the injury or accident. They’re told they’ll be fired if they report the injury, or they may be pressured to return to work too soon in order to remain employed.
- Intimidating you with embarrassment and social pressure. Some employers are not above using your coworkers against you, posting publicly about your injury, and using other underhanded tricks to minimize your claim or make it out like you’re the bad guy just for getting hurt.
- Pressuring you to settle for less. You may be pressured to accept the settlement the company wants to give you, often long before they’ve recovered or know the full extent of your injuries. The insurance company or your employer may harass you over the phone, give you misleading information, or use other tactics to make you feel like you don’t have other options and must accept their offer, even if it isn’t enough to help you recover.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone—it happens to a lot of people—and you should know that you do have options. You don’t have to put up with these kinds of intimidation tactics because you were hurt at work. Many employees are mistreated by their employers after they are hurt or become ill, no matter what kind of industry they work in. If you’re being threatened or mistreated by your employer just because you got hurt, don’t make the mistake of assuming that you “just have to take it” in order to keep your job.
Don’t give in to intimidation tactics! Know your rights in Texas after a work accident
Dealing with pain and worry after a work accident can be difficult, but it’s not always the most difficult part of the aftermath. Unfortunately, workers across the United States struggle to get the compensation they need for their injuries, often facing harassment and intimidation from their employers in the process.
Ultimately, it is against the law for your employer to retaliate against you for filing an injury claim or reporting an injury. If you need help protecting your rights or making the harassment stop, one of our experienced attorneys can sit down with you, answer your questions about injury claims, and provide further guidance. We can help you get justice and compensation for what has happened to you.
Why injured workers should never give a recorded statement
Despite what the insurance adjuster may tell you, you are not legally required to give a recorded statement for your injury claim to be processed. Giving a recorded statement will not further your case. Instead, it could do a lot to wreck your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries. If the insurance adjuster is pressuring you to give a recorded statement before they will allow you to receive medical treatment or compensation, call an experienced attorney right away. It’s simply not worth the risk of wrecking of your work injury claim.
The insurance company may tell you that a recorded statement is needed to hurry your case along or that it is simply part of the settlement process. In reality, employers and insurance companies often use these recorded statements to twist victims’ words and attempt to minimize their injuries or deny their potential claims. If you make the mistake of agreeing to a statement, you should know that they will generally ask difficult questions, misleading questions, or questions you don’t understand. While you are being recorded, you might be asked – or even pressured – to immediately accept a settlement for the costs of your injury.
You may feel like you have nothing to hide, and you may wonder what the harm could really be. Unfortunately, insurance companies often take advantage of injured workers who do not understand their rights, and the pressure can be intense. We certainly sympathize. In a perfect world, settling a work injury claim should be as simple as telling the truth about what happened to you. However, you should realize that your employer and its insurance company probably do not have your best interests in mind when asking for a recorded statement – and it’s extremely likely that they will try to use your words against you later on to protect their own interests.
When you have been hurt at work, one of the first things you find out about pursuing a successful work injury claim is that you have to document everything: doctor’s visits, your progress, missed work, medical bills, lost wages, communication regarding the injury—the list goes on and on. With that in mind, it probably doesn’t seem all that surprising that your employer wants you to give an official statement.
However, although documentation and evidence are key to the success of your case, don’t be tempted to give a recorded statement, especially without the guidance of an experienced attorney on your side. Giving a recorded statement to your employer or its insurance company is more than just simple documentation, and you need to make sure that you are protecting yourself as you figure out the details.
We understand that you want to do everything in your power to move your injury claim along as quickly as possible. However, don’t put your right to compensation at risk. If you are being asked or pressured to give a recorded statement after you have been hurt, speak with an experienced attorney before you make a decision—and make sure you are fully prepared to protect your rights.
Recorded Statements Aren’t the Only Concern After a Work Injury
Even if you are able to avoid giving a recorded statement, there are other ways to fall into the trap of saying or doing something that negatively impacts your work injury claim, including:
- On the phone with the insurance company. Even in an unrecorded statement to the insurance company, you could accidentally say or do something that affects your rights or jeopardizes your claim.
- In writing. You may receive a number of documents in the mail, and you may be asked to fill out the answers to written questions from the insurance company. This comes with many of the same risks as a spoken statement. To be safe, do not submit any statements in writing, including signing any documents, without first reviewing the document with your attorney.
- On social media outlets. It may come as a surprise to many, but insurance companies are not above using your Facebook or Twitter posts as evidence to undermine your claim. Even seemingly unrelated posts could be used against you, so be very careful what you say online when you are pursuing a work injury claim.
An experienced attorney can ensure that your rights are protected and help you avoid making many of the common mistakes that wreck work injury claims. If you are being pressured to give a recorded statement after a work injury, or if you have questions about your rights, VB Attorneys can help you get answers.
A work injury can follow you far into the future – are you prepared?
You can’t really prepare for an unexpected work injury, and it’s not unusual for families to be thrown into a world of physical, emotional, and financial chaos after finding out that a loved one has been seriously hurt. Because these kinds of injuries can change lives forever, injured workers and their families find themselves suddenly needing to prepare for long-term difficulties.
Some of the long-term hardships after a work-related injury include:
- Changes in income and expenses: Facing the reality that you cannot return to the same type of work or a high-paying position is difficult, especially if you are still receiving medical care. Short-term injuries are already expensive, but serious, long-term injuries can quickly drain any family’s emergency funds.
- Changes in your ability to work: Sometimes, injured workers are unable to return to work at all or will need training and education to move on to a position suited to their post-injury needs.
- Changes in your ability to engage in daily activities: Beyond losing the ability to work or provide for their families in the same way, seriously injured workers also must adjust to changes in how they engage in their personal lives, interact with their families, or pursue hobbies and personal goals.
- The emotional and psychological impact of change: Physical and financial changes are often the most obvious and pressing, but the “invisible” emotional injuries after a serious accident often go ignored. The trauma of the accident, the stress of the aftermath, and the many long-term adjustments injured workers face can take a serious psychological toll, resulting in depression, anxiety, and other difficulties.
Families must cope by rapidly getting educated about their rights and taking it one step at a time. Medical attention should be a priority, both initially and in follow up, and injured workers should follow their doctors’ orders carefully in order to recover as fully as possible. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, reach out to your doctor or a counselor. And, to make sure you receive the past, present, and future compensation needed for your injury, get help from an experienced work injury attorney in handling your injury claim.
How preexisting and intervening injuries affect your work injury claim
If you have a preexisting injury or have been hurt again since your injury at work, it’s important to be prepared to carefully protect your rights as you pursue compensation for what happened. Your employer cannot deny your worker’s compensation benefits for either of these conditions, but many companies will take advantage of workers who aren’t aware of their rights. No matter where you work, here are some things you should know about preexisting injuries and intervening injuries.
A preexisting injury is an injury that happened before you started your job. For example, if you broke your shoulder years ago playing football, that could be a preexisting injury.
Many companies will refuse to take responsibility for injuries that happen on the job if they can—and if they discover you had an injury before the accident, they may use it as an excuse to deny compensation. However, a preexisting condition does not disqualify you from getting worker’s compensation or suing an employer for negligence in causing a new injury.
The reality on pre-existing conditions is this: state laws dictate what types of pre-existing conditions will be allowed in a personal injury case. There are rules that must be followed. If the prior condition has nothing to do with your current condition or injuries, then a judge won’t allow it in the case. On the other hand, if you had a prior condition to the same body part or had a similar injury in the past, then most likely that condition will be allowed in the case.
Generally, if it can be proven that your employer was responsible for an injury that caused medical issues that would not have otherwise been aggravated, you can still recover damages. In some cases, it may even be proven that the underlying condition and new injury are unrelated, and that you should receive full compensation despite the pre-existing condition. However, because so many workers are unaware of their rights and the tricks of the insurance trade, it is very important that you speak with an attorney of your choosing about the details of your case, your rights, and how to be successful with your claim. You should discuss matters related to past injuries and pre-existing conditions the first time you meet your attorney.
An intervening injury happens when a worker is already hurt from a workplace injury and then another work injury aggravates the previous injury. One common cause of intervening injuries is returning to work too soon after an injury. Some employers pressure workers who are not fully healed to return to work, but doing so could seriously impact the worker’s recovery. The consequences could even be permanent. An intervening injury may also be caused by injury treatment, such as physical therapy or repeated surgeries, or a second accident.
Although you may have expected that your employer would be on your side if you were ever hurt on the clock, the reality is that a lot of workers have to fight for the help they deserve. Whether your job made your preexisting condition worse or injured you outright, you deserve fair compensation for your suffering.
Help for cancer and mesothelioma patients who were exposed to years of asbestos exposure in the workplace
Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses create impossible challenges for individuals and families around the world who have been left to pay the price for careless employers and companies. Although asbestos has been a known hazard for many years, its wide use left many people open to the dangers – and, while it is less commonly used in recent years, many people still continue to be at risk for mesothelioma.
As victims and families struggle to make sense of how work-related exposure can lead to a cancer diagnosis, they are also forced to confront complex legal, medical, and financial decisions related to their illness. However, if you have found yourself confronting these same challenges after a recent diagnosis, you should know that you are definitely not alone, and you can get help with your questions.
The sooner you learn about your legal rights after a mesothelioma diagnosis, the sooner you can protect yourself and start taking action. For more no-obligation information and a free and confidential case analysis with one of our attorneys, don’t hesitate to contact our team today.
Mesothelioma is a very aggressive cancer that occurs in the lining around the lungs, heart, testes, and abdomen. It results almost exclusively from exposure to asbestos and can take anywhere from 20 to 60 years to develop after exposure. The disease is more common in workers and military personnel who were directly exposed to asbestos in the line of work, but anyone who works or has worked in older public buildings, with certain types of supplies and equipment, or in second-hand asbestos-exposure situations is at risk. At this time, there is no known cure for mesothelioma, and the disease is ultimately fatal.
Mesothelioma is a difficult disease to diagnose and treat, and care of the disease must be carefully tailored to each patient’s circumstances and needs. Through a number of complex treatment options, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment, victims of mesothelioma can manage their disease and extend their life expectancy.
Unfortunately, the staggering expense of this highly specialized treatment leaves many mesothelioma victims to make grim choices about their healthcare options and financial futures.
Find out how you can get the financial support you need to cover medical costs for cancer treatments.
Whether you were exposed to asbestos years ago or in your current line of work, you should know that you may have rights to compensation for your resulting illness. The companies who exposed workers to this cancer-causing substance should be held responsible for ignoring the risks, and victims are entitled to financial support. If you are buckling under the weight of medical, emotional, and financial changes following a diagnosis of asbestos-related cancer or illness, our experienced legal team is standing by with the answers you need.
Since many of the victims were exposed to asbestos through their workplaces after it was known that the substance was dangerous, there have been many, many lawsuits filed against large companies who failed to protect their workers—and many of those lawsuits have ended in millions of dollars being awarded to the victim or his or her family. To help you understand the scope of these kinds of legal actions, here are three examples of large and notable mesothelioma lawsuits:
- In 2012, Union Carbide was ordered to pay millions of dollars to 85-year-old Bobbie Izell, who developed mesothelioma after working with the company’s products as a general contractor in the 1960s and 1970s. Union Carbide was accused of hiding the dangers of the asbestos used in its products, and including damages from all companies named in the case, Izell was awarded $48 million.
- In 2013, Rose-Marie Griggs, the wife of a worker exposed to asbestos in KAYLO products, was awarded more than $27 million for mesothelioma developed after handling and laundering her husband’s work clothes.
- In 2012, mesothelioma victim John Bristow, a former shipyard worker, was awarded over $9 million in a suit against Crane Inc. for exposure to asbestos in the company’s products. While other companies were also named in Bristow’s complaint, all but Crane settled with the victim before the trial.
While it is possible for victims to pursue compensation, the path to success isn’t always easy. Asbestos victims and their families often end up struggling against large companies and insurers who hope to minimize how much they must pay for their negligence, and victims are often unprepared to defend their claims or push for the maximum compensation they are entitled to. However, a skilled asbestos attorney can make sure that victims are informed, protected, and ready to fight for what they truly deserve.
At our firm, our legal team has extensive experience helping individuals and families across the nation protect their rights, make confident decisions, and get the compensation they need for their care. If you have questions or need help, speak directly with our mesothelioma attorneys today
How light duty can indicate that your employer isn’t playing by the rules
In an ideal world, injured workers would be able to work closely with their medical providers to determine when to return to work and what restrictions they might be under while they continue to recover. In reality, though, many employers try to force injured employees back into light duty positions before they’re really ready or use their medical restrictions against them.
Ideally, an employee might transition back to light duty when he or she has reached a point in recovery where it makes sense to do so—and only his or her doctor should be able to say when that is. The employer would then help the employee transition into a light-duty position that adheres to medical restrictions, and the employee would be able to communicate clearly and honestly throughout the process.
Although you may hope that your return to work will be handled as a straightforward, administrative process, the truth is that some employers or supervisors use light-duty restrictions to punish injured employees or even carry out personal grudges. In some extreme cases, demeaning or pointless light duties may even be used to try to make you walk away from the job so that they have grounds to fire you.
Some employers might pressure you to come back to work before you’re ready or before you’ve been cleared by your doctor. Sometimes, the reality is that your employer will ignore your medical restrictions entirely once you are back on the job, which may put you at risk for an intervening injury, or a second injury that happens after you’ve already been hurt at work.
While in many cases, employers are breaking or bending the rules, you can still make serious mistakes if you don’t meet the problem armed with real information about your rights and how to protect yourself. Some employers, insurance adjusters, company representatives, company doctors, and others intentionally mislead or abuse injured employees, and the real answers to your questions about your work injury may come as a surprise.
Although specific answers depend on the specific details in your case, many injured workers do have options if they feel they are being bullied or punished by the light-duty work they’ve been assigned. In fact, it’s not even all that unusual for seriously injured workers to be unfairly asked to return to work and perform pointless or invented duties while they are still in tremendous pain, taking medications, and severely limited by their work injuries.
If you have any questions about light duty requirements or returning to work after an injury, don’t hesitate to reach out for legal advice. Our attorneys have extensive experience helping injured workers protect their rights, stop the abuse, and get the compensation they need after they’ve been hurt.
How to get compensation from disability and other insurance policies in addition to your injury claim
If you have disability, accident, or another type of insurance policy, we will help you apply for benefits from your insurance. We do this all the time for our clients to help them have short-term funds while we’re working on their work injury lawsuit.
For people who are unable to work due to the severity of their injuries, getting financial assistance from disability or accident insurance is a life-saver. These forms of financial assistance are in addition to the compensation you’re seeking in your lawsuit. Unlike applying for a loan against your future settlement, this money does not come out of your lawsuit settlement.
How to choose an attorney for your work injury case
If you have never hired an attorney before, it can be hard to know where to start. Do you just open the Yellow Pages and pick a lawyer? Should you use Google to find an attorney on the internet? How do you know if the attorney is even qualified to handle your case? It’s not easy an easy decision to make, and the search can bring up a lot of questions about who you can really trust and how to find the right attorney to handle your work injury claim.
While the choice is ultimately up to you, there are a few traits you should be looking for in an attorney to make sure that you’re choosing someone who can be the right fit for your specific case:
- Experience with work injury cases in your state. Work injury cases are different from other legal matters, and it’s important that you choose an attorney with relevant skills and successful experience after you have been hurt at work. Depending on where you work and where you live, it can also be helpful to look for an attorney who has experience with the state-level laws and regulations that affect your case.
- Experience with work injury cases in your industry. The attorney you choose should be familiar with the type of job you do, the kinds of equipment you use, what your workday is like, the dangers you typically face, the laws and regulations that apply, and the other little details of your day-to-day that can become a big deal in your case later on.
- A willingness to answer questions. If your attorney doesn’t return your calls or doesn’t address the questions you have, he or she is probably not the right person for your case. You want an attorney who will be responsive and focused on you.
- The ability to explain your options in language you understand. If you don’t understand a word that’s said, then you won’t be able to get the answers you need to make the right decisions in your case. Your attorney should be able to communicate in clear, easy-to-understand language.
- No history of discipline by the State Bar. It’s never a bad idea to do a little research on your own, and it’s worth taking time to check out your attorney’s background and disciplinary history through the State Bar.
Looking for these kinds of things in the attorneys and law firms you talk with can help you narrow down your search and decide who is qualified to take your case and handle it well. However, don’t stop there—if you’re planning to hire an attorney, it’s a good idea to still meet in person and ask questions before you decide to move forward.
Questions to Ask an Attorney You’re Considering Hiring for a Work Injury Case
It is a good idea to interview the lawyer you are thinking about hiring before you give him or her your case. Any good attorney will happily answer your questions in a straightforward, no-nonsense way, and it gives you a chance to get a “gut feel” about whether or not you might work well together. If you sense that your questions are making the attorney uncomfortable, or if the attorney seems to be acting evasive, you may want to look elsewhere for legal representation.
To help you get ready to meet with an attorney for the first time, here are some examples of the kinds of questions you might want to ask:
- How long have you been taking work injury cases? How many workers have you represented? Ideally you want an attorney with a proven track record, not somebody who only just started taking cases last week or doesn’t have a lot of history with the type of case you have.
- Have you handled a case like mine before? It would be ideal if your situation isn’t new to your lawyer. You don’t want him or her learning on the job!
- May I have a list of your case results? If the attorney is reluctant to discuss his or her case history with you, it might be a warning sign that he or she lacks experience or skill.
- Who will work on my case? At some law firms, cases get farmed out to paralegals, junior attorneys, or even to another firm entirely. It is important that you know who will be handling your case—there is no point in hiring a big-name lawyer only to have him or her pawn the case off on somebody else.
- Have you had a case against the same company before? A lot of employers are large corporations that may operate a number of locations across the United States. A lawyer who has a lot of experience handing work injury claims will likely have experience with cases against many of the larger ones. Prior experience with the company you want to file a suit against is great because your lawyer will be that much more prepared. This can be especially helpful when your employer is a railroad, an oil & gas company, or in similar industries where there may be only a few large companies employing many hundreds of thousands of people.
- Do you also represent employers and insurance companies? An attorney who plays both sides may have a conflict of interest. You might want to try and find somebody who focuses on representing victims only.
- Are you board certified, and if so, in what field(s)? Do you carry malpractice insurance? Believe it or not, there are many attorneys out there who are not board certified and who don’t carry malpractice insurance. It is in your best interest to find one who is both certified and insured.
Getting the Answers You Need Before You Hire an Attorney
Even if you’re not sure if you’re ready to hire an attorney, an initial consultation is all about making sure you are getting the answers you need to make informed decisions. As you interview potential attorneys, even if you don’t plan to hire someone immediately, you should also use the time to ask questions about your case, including questions like:
- What can I do right now to make sure my claim is successful?
- What are my rights after I’ve been hurt on the job?
- How much is my case worth?
- How do I know when to go back to work?
- Who will pay all of these medical bills?
- Why should I hire an attorney to help with my work injury claim?
- Do I really even need to hire an attorney?
If you choose to meet with our attorneys, we would be happy to talk with you and answer all of these questions and more, as well as explain what you need to do to protect yourself from insurance company tricks and traps—all at no cost or obligation to you. We’re here to help injured workers get the real answers that they need, and we understand that you may be coming to us confused, frustrated, and unsure about the necessary next steps. Our attorneys will give you clear and honest answers—we’ll even tell you honestly if you really need an attorney for your case and help connect you with the resources you need while you’re recovering.
Our attorneys have helped countless victims – just like you – get justice for their pain, suffering, and losses. We know that it’s difficult to know whom you can trust after a serious accident. That is why we always ensure that your contact with our attorneys does not cost you anything unless we win your case. Your first consultation is free. We advance all court costs and fees, and you will only pay for our services after we get you the justice you deserve.
Read About Some of Our Clients’ Victories In Work Injury Cases
- Historic verdict awarded to the family of an ironworker. We helped the family of an ironworker who drowned building the pedestrian bridge for Baylor University’s new football stadium investigate his death. Our legal team took over 50 depositions in the case and worked the case up. We went to trial in Harris County in March 2016, facing seven defendants. We argued that one of the defendants, Austin Bridge and Road, had not shared crucial safety rules with the workers or with the other companies because enforcing those rules would have slowed down the job. We argued those safety rules would have prevented our client’s death. The jury agreed and returned a $17.72 million verdict in our clients’ favor and put 100% responsibility on Austin Bridge and Road. Austin Bridge and Road tried to have the trial judge zero out the verdict in a post-trial hearing, but the judge denied their arguments and signed a judgement for the full verdict.
- Settlement awarded to an injured logger. Our client was hurt when a log came loose from a piece of equipment. He suffered massive brain trauma. We sued the logging company on his behalf. They fought the case, arguing that our client couldn’t bring a lawsuit against them under workers’ compensation laws. We argued that he was a contractor – a day laborer not employed by the company – and won. The company agreed to settle the case for $5,000,000.
- Hoyer Global pays confidential settlement worker exposed to sulfuric acid. Our client was employed by a truck maintenance company, repairing tanker trucks. The truck was sent to Hoyer Global to be cleaned. It had been carrying sulfuric acid. The company returned it with a certificate of cleanliness, but when our client and his coworker went to work on the component they’d been tasked to repair, he was blasted in the eyes with sulfuric acid. We sued Hoyer Global, arguing that their workers hadn’t properly cleaned the truck. Hoyer Global agreed to pay our client a confidential settlement that would help him take care of himself since he now had permanently impaired vision.
- LeBouf’s Bindery pays settlement to worker who lost his hand. Our client, a teenager, hired Vuk Vujasinovic to pursue a non-subscriber injury case against the bindery after his hand was so mangled by the bindery machine it had to be surgically amputated. Since LeBouf’s didn’t have workers’ compensation, Vuk was able to ask that our client be compensated for his past and future medical bills, his lost wages, and the future earning capacity he now wouldn’t be able to achieve without his hand. The defense claimed the bindery provided adequate supervision for our client, that our client was 100% responsible for his injury. The bindery’s insurance company agreed to settle the case before trial for $985,000.
- Hodges Southwest pays settlement to worker who fell through roof. Our client, a tree trimmer, was working from the roof of a building when the roof collapsed. He fell 20 feet and suffered massive injuries to his body and brain. He hired us to pursue a case against the building’s owner, Hodges Southwest. The company gathered all of the evidence and threw it away, seriously hurting our client’s chances of learning all the facts about why the roof collapsed. The court agreed that Hodges Southwest had destroyed the evidence, so the insurance company for Hodges Southwest agreed to pay the maximum limits of the insurance policy – $1,000,000 – to our client.
- Enterprise Products & Turner settle plant explosion lawsuit. We represented over forty people who were injured when an explosion rocked the Enterprise plant in Mont Belvieu. We were hired to investigate the cause of the explosion and found out that not only did Enterprise have previous safety violations and injuries, they knew the tools being used for the work that caused the explosion were not the right tools for the job. Two injuries had occurred in the same area of the plant in the two previous years. We obtained a confidential settlement on behalf of our clients shortly before trial was set to begin.
We have helped people who have been injured or killed working in the construction industry, working at refineries and plants, working in the oilfield, working offshore, and more.
Protect Your Future. Learn Your Rights After Being Hurt at Work.
If you are like most of our clients, this is the first time you have suffered an injury requiring medical attention and legal help. Unlike you, your employer likely has seen injury cases many times, so they know exactly what to do and who to call to protect their bottom line at your expense.
We recommend that one of the first things you do is learn your legal rights so you know how to avoid getting tricked into signing those rights away, and so you can make informed, intelligent choices about what course of action to take to ensure your rights are protected.