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Can i get a new lawyer for my workers comp case?

Salinas, CA |

my case is being open over a year and i feel more stress than ever nothing is being done and nothing is being authorized by the insurance carrier they have denied everthing.No medical treatment or medication but, they want me to go back to work?

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Attorney answers 5


You can always get a new attorney. Freedom is only one form (Substitution of Attorney) away. All the attorneys will split the fee on the back end, but that will be transparent to you.

Legal analysis is for general information, based upon the limited facts provided. Comments are not intended to constitute binding legal advice.


You can always do a substitution of attorney and get rid of your current attorney that way, or you can file a notice of dismissal and then find another attorney. Workers Compensation is a very difficult road to travel. You have to work with an attorney who has the time to spend on your case. otherwise it becomes very frustrated.trying to get the benefits to which you are entitled.

Have you made an appointment and sat down with your current attorney to get some action on your case?


Of course you can search for a new lawyer to take over your matter. Your current attorney has the right to place a lien on your case for the reasonable value of his or her services. Your new attorney will have to work out a split of attorney's fees at the conclusion of your case. Attorney's fees in California are limited: generally between 12 and 18% of the settlement or trial award. I wish you provided more information in your question: has the defendant insurance carrier denied your claim? Is your claim for a injury to your psyche? If the latter is true, and I suspect it might as you mention your stress level and need for medication, you may be in a long fight as most defendants vigorously dispute psychological injury claims right through trial-or until the time of lump sum settlement termed a Compromise & Release that must be approved by a Workers' Compensation Administrative Law Judge,
I do not know enough about the Salinas area but in southern California many venues are backed up months in processing requests for hearings and court conferences. That is not the fault of your attorney; it is the result of the budgetary problems of the State of California which has caused many District Offices of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board to be understaffed, both in terms of judges and support staff. Until recently, judges only worked four days a week so that the state could cut their salary by about 20%-not exactly a morale boaster. The reduced work schedule has resulted in long delays in requests for hearings.
Good luck.


You do have the right to switch attorneys, or at least get a second opinion. It's hard to tell from your question why your benefits have been denied. I usually suggest sitting down with your current attorney and being very honest about your concerns. Try to get some real answers. If that doesn't work, you might want to look for a new attorney. Find someone who focuses their practice on helping injured workers and ask a lot of questions. If you need help, I can refer you to someone in your area. Good luck.

Mike Helfand


It is your right to seek new legal counsel to assist you in your Workers' Compensation claim.

Your original attorney will seek fees for the work they performed while they were your counsel. However, the good news is, you are only required to pay one lawyer. That is, your last attorney will attempt to resolve the fee with your prior attorney informally. If not the Court will formally award each attorney a fee, but not to exceed the percentage you agreed to with your second attorney.

Regarding medical treatment and medications, if your primary treating physician opines you are entitled to cure or relieve you from the affects of the industrial injury, then your attorney should file for an expedited hearing, provided you have not been seen by a panel qme or ame.

If you have the panel qme or ame will be required to provide an opinion. At that point, if the insurance company still will not authorize the treatment, you should be able to proceed with an expedited hearing petition.

I hope this helps.



Michael Rott

Please be advised that the advice provided does not create any attorney/client relationship; that due to the various state laws that the information provided is a general overview of work comp law, which might not be applicable to you, based upon the laws of your state. We will not file anything on your behalf nor protect any statute of limitations which might arise and recommend that you IMMEDIATELY consult legal counsel for advice.

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