Sometimes, an injured worker represented by a workers’ compensation attorney, can decide that they want a different attorney to represent them. This article will tell you when an injured worker should and shouldn’t change attorneys mid-stream in their claim. It will also tell the injured worker how to do so properly.
Sometimes injured workers’ hire an attorney, either from the get-go, or a few months in, and they become frustrated with the service they are receiving from that attorney. Once they decide to dismiss their current representation, they need to find another attorney to take their case, which can be done but it is not always an easy task to accomplish.
What happens, if you do switch attorneys, is that there will ultimately be only one attorney fee. The second attorney will hold that attorney fee in trust and negotiate how much the first attorney is going to receive. If the first attorney has had the case for a long time and has put a lot of work into it, it is often hard to find a second attorney to pick up the case. This is because, in all fairness, the first attorney will be deserving of a larger percentage of the final attorney fee.
If you’re not happy with your current attorney and you’re leaving messages and not getting a callback, it is often suggested that you call their office and schedule a phone appointment with the receptionist. You may also want to schedule a meeting in person if you’re not getting any response from the office. It is understood that attorneys are busy; Nevertheless, all attorneys have a duty to their clients and communication is a very important part of the attorney-client relationship.
On the phone appointment or in the meeting in person with your attorney, let them know your concerns. This will often clear up any frustration that you have experienced.
If, after expressing your concerns, you are still unhappy and you contact a second attorney, a good attorney who has been in the workers’ comp arena for a long time, will want to know who your attorney is. They will know which attorneys have excellent reputations and the ones who don’t. A possible scenario is that the injured worker has excellent representation, but the attorney is just swamped at the moment. The second attorney, if they know the current attorney, may even ask the injured worker if they would like them to call their attorney on their behalf. No attorney wants their clients shopping for another lawyer. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of a wakeup call for that attorney—i.e., “Hey, your client is looking for other council, you need to take better care of them.”
There is also the case where the injured worker is represented by a law firm that advertised in the injured workers’ hometown but is physically located hundreds of miles away. In this scenario, the second attorney, if they are good, won’t give the distant attorney the same courtesy. Frequently, when physically distant attorneys represent an injured worker, being unfamiliar will the medical legal examiners in the area, will agree to a doctor that no attorney who is familiar will the medical legal examiners in the injured workers local, would ever select.
Also, in the case of a law firm or individual attorney, who are hundreds of miles away, they will often hire contract attorneys to make appearances on their behalf. It is not uncommon to see contract attorneys representing injured workers who they have never met, have no idea what’s going on in the case, and are not adequately prepared to make a coherent argument before a judge. Quite frankly, it is an absolute disservice to an injured worker to be represented by long-distance attorneys not familiar with their case or the area. If you are looking for other representation and your current attorney is hundreds of miles away, a good workers’ compensation attorney will gladly take your case and properly represent you.
Contact a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Hope this answers some questions you may have about switching workers’ compensation attorneys. For any additional questions please call The Law Office of Alice A. Strömbom at 916-444-7557 for your free consultation. We’re here for you.
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