At Saffren and Weinberg, Marc Alan Weinberg, Attorney and Kenneth Scott Saffren, Attorney are partners. The firm’s tagline is “The People’s Voice In Court.” They make themselves available via phone at (215) 576-0100 or by email on the Saffren and Weinberg website. Saffren and Weinberg provides a no-charge, complimentary case review and answers questions for prospective clients.
How to Find the Right Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you’ve been hurt at work, through an accident or workplace illness, you may need or want the assistance of a work injury lawyer to help you with your workers’ compensation claim. An attorney can help you navigate the sometimes confusing Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system and obtain all of the benefits that are owed to you under the law.
If you’ve never been involved in legal proceedings, the task of hiring an attorney can be intimidating. How do you find the best lawyers? What should you look for in a workers’ compensation attorney? What questions should you ask the attorney?
The following two-step approach can be used to help you find and decide on a workers’ compensation attorney suited for your situation.
Step 1: Develop a List of Potential Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Start your work injury lawyer search by developing a list of potential attorneys. You don’t have to personally know any attorneys; you can find attorneys from different sources including:
People You Know – Ask around to see if any friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, or even attorneys that do different types of work know any workers’ compensation lawyers that they can recommend to you or that they would advise you against using. You may be surprised how many lawyers you are connected to through one or two levels of separation.
Bar Associations – Every state and most localities have a bar association, a professional organization for attorneys. These bar associations often maintain lists of member attorneys who practice in the area that they will let you search or will search on your behalf for free. For example, the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service allows you to call in during certain hours or submit a form to obtain a referral for a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer.
Online Searches – Google is great for a lot of things, including generating ideas for attorneys to represent you. Search for your location and “work injury” or “workers compensation” attorney or lawyer and see what comes up.
Lawyer Directories – A number of organizations and companies have searchable online directories where you can search for an attorney near you that specializes in workers’ compensation law.
Get Creative – These aren’t the only ways to find workers’ compensation attorneys, so get creative. Some clients have even used Craigslist to find their attorney match. Remember at this stage, you are just generating ideas, you are not hiring anyone yet.
Step 2: Evaluate Prospective Attorneys
After you create a list of prospective attorneys, do not just pick any attorney on the list! Instead, strategically narrow down the list, speak to prospective attorneys, and then decide which lawyer to hire. Remember to balance all these considerations and evaluate them collectively. Here are a few criteria to consider:
Licensure – The first thing you want to check is that each prospective attorney is licensed in the state where your injury occurred. Attorneys are licensed on a state by state basis by the state’s Bar Association. This means that an attorney licensed in New Jersey cannot automatically practice law in Pennsylvania unless they are admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar Association or have received permission to practice in the state for a particular case.
Bar Standing – When attorneys do something wrong, the state’s Bar Association where they are licensed may discipline them. One form of discipline is suspension, where the attorney is not allowed to practice law for a certain period of time. You want to make sure that any attorney you hire is in good standing with the Bar, which you can check, along with licensure, through online searches.
Education & Accolades – Consider the quality of law school that your attorney attended, any professional awards or other accolades they have received, and any publications related to your case. For example, if a prospective lawyer published an article they wrote about obtaining workers’ compensation, that is a good sign. Being named one of the best lawyers in the country is also a plus.
Location – Think about where the attorney is located. In most cases, you want to hire an attorney located near your home or work. For example, if you are located in Philadelphia, you probably want to hire a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer, like the ones at Saffren & Weinberg, because it will be easier to meet with an attorney nearby and the lawyer will be more familiar with local laws, courts, and maybe even your employer.
Experience – There are so many different areas of law that it is crucial to make sure that any attorney you hire has experience in the area you need. Consider not only length of experience but type of experience, like whether they have worked with clients with similar injuries or who were working in the same type of job. An injury in an office environment is very different from an injury from chemical exposure in the workplace.
Areas of Practice – Consider how many practice areas an attorney has. It is not uncommon for attorneys to have “general” practices where they accept many different types of cases, but it is often better to find an attorney who focuses on fewer areas of law where one of those is work injuries. A narrower practice scope is especially important for workers’ compensation cases which operate differently than a lot of other civil cases.
Availability – Even the best attorney will not be much use to you if they don’t have enough time to fully pursue your case. When deciding on an attorney, determine whether they have enough availability in their schedule to do their best work for you.
Fit – You will be working with your attorney a lot over a period of months or even years. For this reason, it is important that you feel like your attorney is a good “fit” for you – that you trust them, get along, and think your styles of communication work well together. Part of “fit” is also a subjective feel. Listen to what your gut instinct is telling you.
Once the list is narrowed, speak to a few of the potential attorneys or law firms on the phone or in person and ask them questions to learn more. Then make your decision based on what is best for you and your situation. The following are some questions you might want to ask when speaking with a prospective attorney or law firm about your workers’ compensation case:
- Do you provide a free consultation or case evaluation?
- Tell me about your experience doing workers’ compensation work.
- Have you worked with clients with work injuries similar to mine?
- Have you worked with clients that work in industries like mine?
- What percentage of your cases are workers’ compensation cases?
- Do you have time to take on my case?
- How quickly can I expect to hear back from you if I have a question about my case?
- What kind of office support do you have to help you with my case?
- What are your fees?
- What types of costs am I responsible for paying?
- When and how do I pay your fees and costs?
If you’d like to learn more about the workers’ compensation attorneys at Saffren & Weinberg, contact us at (215) 576-0100 with questions or to obtain a free case evaluation. We understand that choosing the right attorney after you are hurt at work is a difficult decision and we would be happy to answer your questions and share more about our legal team, process, and experience.