When there is a meeting between an injured worker and his or her workers’ compensation attorney, it is important to be prepared for the meeting. If it is the first meeting, the injured employee should insist on meeting with an attorney. This is not to discount the importance of paralegals and assistants. They are a part of the legal team and play a significant role. However, these staff members are generally not trained to field all the questions and concerns an injured employee may have. Furthermore, as a client, the injured worker deserves a face-to-face meeting with the attorney.
Presuming that the employee is meeting an attorney, it is important that the worker bring all the documents he or she received from the insurance company and Employer regarding the work injury. This includes letters, medical records, and notices. Furthermore, the employee should bring paycheck stubs and other “employment related” information such as disciplinary “write-ups”, “worklink reports”, or employment files. The attorneys at the Ramos Law Firm recommend that the employees do not “self-edit” or “prejudge” the documents. Bring everything. It is the attorney’s job to determine what is important to the case and what is not.
In anticipation of the meeting, it may be a good exercise to draft a chronology or summary of events from the date of hiring to the present day. The reason for this exercise is to make sure nothing is left out during the meeting. Often times, employees become emotional when telling their attorneys about the work accident. As the emotion level rises, details are forgotten. Even if there is no emotional interference, people simply forget. It is important that your attorney receive the complete picture. The Ramos Law Firm attorneys recommend to their clients that they write down all the physicians’ names and address as well as all of the witnesses to the occupational accident.
Other questions the employee should be able to answer include:
- When did the accident occur?;
- Who was the supervisor on duty?;
- Did you report the accident, if so, to whom?
- Was there a list of doctors you could choose from for treatment?
- What body parts did you injure?;
- Which doctors have treated you?;
- Have you been fired, if so, why?;
- Who have you spoken to from the Employer or insurance company about the accident?;
- Have you ever filed a claim before now; and
- How much were you making prior to the accident? Obviously, there will more questions to answer but these basics will assist you further your claim.
On the other side of the table, it is important for the employee to inquire about the lawyer’s credentials and expertise in workers’ compensation. The initial session with your attorney should last at least 30 minutes.
For more information about your workers’ compensation claim and maximizing your chances at recovery, please contact Bryan Ramos.