By Joseph Burke
In law school, attorneys are taught that it is crucial to consider both sides of an issue, without bias. Over time this important lesson has become the foundation for lawyers who represent both employees and insurers in workers compensation cases.
When deciding on a lawyer to protect your interests after you have been hurt on the job, ask yourself this important question, with whom does the lawyer’s loyalty lie? Is it with the insurer or the injured employee?
It is extremely difficult to accept that one day a lawyer can represent an insurance company and go to great lengths explaining to a judge how an injured worker should not recover their claim; and then appear before that very same judge the next day, and explain how his client, an injured worker, should recover their claim on essentially the same set of facts he argued against the day before.
As the old adage goes, “he’s got on foot on the platform and the other on the train.” Your lawyer should not straddle the fence. The lawyer you choose should not represent insurance companies. This is not to say that an insurer’s counsel is not an honest lawyer. On the contrary, many lawyers who represent insurance companies are highly honorable and seek to do the right thing; but it is in your best interest to choose a lawyer who is unequivocal loyal to the injured worker and his or her family.
Be sure to ask the lawyer you are considering if their practice is limited to representing employees or insurance companies. Ask them how many cases they take to hearing, how many doctors they have deposed and how many cases have they appealed to the Appeals Court of the Commonwealth.
You and your family not only need a lawyer whose commitment is unquestionable, but whose tenacity is based upon proven performance. Be wary of promises of large settlements and quick resolution. Ask probing questions and do not accept vague answers. It is not only your right to ask these questions, but it is also in your best interest to do so.
Consider all of these factors in your selection. Remember, this maybe one of the most important choices you make.
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