HOW TO CHOOSE AN ATTORNEY FOR YOUR WORK INJURY

What to look for in a lawyer who will represent you on your workers compensation claim

1. Look for experience.
How many years has the attorney been representing injured works?
How many cases have they handled similar to your case?
What is the lawyer’s trial experience? Not just mediated or settled cases, but actual tried cases.
When you call the attorney is she or he knowledgeable about your type of injury, the doctors you are treating with, the judges who may be assigned to your case, etc.

2. Consider reputation.
Is the attorney AV rated? AV ratings are given to attorneys who uphold the highest legal and ethical standards.
Has the attorney had any bar complaints?
Has the attorney’s colleagues nominated the attorney for Best of the Bar?

3. Does the attorney have strong communication skills?
Is your phone call returned promptly by the attorney and not a screener?
Can the attorney readily answer your questions?

Why did I write this post? Recently I had an injured workers contact me about his workers compensation case. The entire conversation was odd. The case had been pending for years and the worker didn’t have a good grasp on what was going on. He was represented by another attorney. He didn’t know what his rating was, he didn’t know if a demand had been made to settle the case, he didn’t know if any offers had been made, he didn’t know if problems had arisen, he didn’t know if the case had been mediated, etc.
In his case, his attorney most likely will be disbarred not only for the handling of this one case but for his neglect of other cases.
It’s not easy to switch attorneys because the first attorney has a lien (a right to payment) on the case.
That fact makes it extremely important that an injured worker makes the right decision for the start.

After a workplace accident, it’s important to find a trustworthy attorney to handle your case.
Dean Law Office LLC is a well-established firm focusing on workers compensation cases. We can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
To arrange a free initial consultation, call 816-753-3100.
No fee if no recovery.
The choice of an attorney should not be based solely on advertisements.

PERMANENT TOTAL DISABILITY FOR WORK INJURIES

A few years ago the law in Missouri changed regarding permanent total disability stemming from a work injury.
The term “total disability” is defined as the “inability to return to any employment and not merely the employment in which the employee was engaged at the time of the accident.”
If an injured worker is permanently totally disabled due to a current work injury, his or her employer pays the permanent total disability (PTD) benefits.
If an injured worker is permanently totally disability due to the combination of his current work injury combining with the employee’s pre-existing disability there is a question of who is responsible for paying PTD benefits. The Second Injury Fund may be liable to pay the PTD benefits. The Second Injury Fund is a Missouri governmental agency.
There are a number of recent cases denying PTD benefits from the Second Injury Fund. The standards for obtaining PTD benefits from the Second Injury Fund are strict.
First, the preexisting disability must be medically documented. That can be problematic. A number of hospitals and medical providers in the area have closed their doors. Getting medical records can take a good bit of perseverance and investigation.
The preexisting disability must equal a minimum of fifty weeks of permanent partial disability compensation. Missouri has a chart that shows the weeks assigned to body parts. It is based on that chart that the weeks of disability are determined.
To determine an employee’s prior disability a medical opinion is necessary.
Once those two prerequisites have been met, the pre-existing disability must be either
1) a direct result of active military duty; or
2) a direct result of a prior workers compensation injury; or
3) a preexisting disability that directly and significantly aggravates or accelerates the subsequent work-related injury; or
4) a preexisting permanent partial disability of an extremity, loss of eyesight in one eye, or loss of hearing in one ear that combines with a current injury to the opposite extremity, loss of eyesight in the other eye, or loss of hearing in the other ear.
If you need assistance with or legal representation for your on-the-job injury or have questions about the benefits available under workers compensation, call Dean Law Office LLC: 816-753-3100. No fee if no recovery.
Free initial consultation.
Claims in permanent total disability cases must be filed in a timely fashion. Because you have a claim number does not mean your claim has been filed. Insurance companies assign claim numbers which have nothing to do with a claim number provided by the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.

THE MOST COMMON ON-THE-JOB HAZARDS LEADING TO WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIMS

The National Safety Council recently announced the seven most common hazards workers encounter on the job.
The most common hazard, and often the most fatal, based on OSHA statistics is working from heights. Often there are violations related to scaffolding and ladders. Missouri has a number of laws on the books regarding scaffold and ladders. A violation of those laws, can increase your compensation under workers’ compensation by 15%.
The second most common on-the-job hazard is poor maintenance. Common examples include: clutter blocking fire exits, goods stacked too high, or leaks and spills that cause slip hazards. Missouri has a number of laws on the books that may allow you to increase your compensation by 15%.
The third most common on-the-job safety hazard is improper extension cords. Daisy chained cords can cause fire hazards and trip hazards.
The fourth most common on-the-job hazard is forklift-related hazards. Oftentimes workers are forced to work too quickly or overload the forklift. Forklift maintenance is often neglected leading to accidents. It may also be that a forklift is defective in some way. If that is the case, you may have a third-party action in addition to your workers’ compensation claim.
The fifth most common on-the-job hazard is improper lockout tag out procedures.
The sixth most common on-the-job hazard are chemical hazards.
The seventh most common on-the-job hazard involves working in confined spaces. People working in confined spaces face hazards including toxic substances, electrocutions, and asphyxiation. Missouri has a number of laws on the books regarding ventilators and exhaust systems. A violation of those laws, can increase your compensation under workers’ compensation by 15%.
If you need assistance with your on-the-job injury or have questions about the benefits available under workers compensation, just give a call: 816-753-3100. Dean Law Office, LLC.
Free initial consultation. No fee if no recovery.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.