Mr. Corson is correct about the PQME report being the most important document. And you are right that you face a challenge finding new counsel. May I suggest that you call your attorney's office and schedule a face-to-face meeting in order to determine what the current status is. Make a list of your questions before the appointment and make sure that your attorney gives you enough time to answer them (within reason).
If you can not get an appointment, or the answers are unsatisfactory, you should use www.avvo.com or www.caaa.org (the applicant attorney organization) to locate a skilled worker's compensation attorney in your area. Given the timing issues you raised, you should move with all due speed.
The information given is generic and does not constitute legal advice, which would only be given after a consultation and complete review of the specific facts of your case.
You are about to lose your job. You only have a 12 week job guarantee under Family Medical Leave, and your Employer is objectively generous to keep your position open for an entire year. If you found it overly stressful, losing the position may not matter. If your claim was denied, your SDI benefits will probably expire after 52 weeks if you have been regrouping and/or convalescing since your claim opened. I don't know what the QME said, but that is the most important document that you can show the prospective new attorney.
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The PQME report should be enough for an attorney to make a decision. The attorney will take the case if it ready to settle because it is largely an accepted fact that the settling attorney takes 25-33% in OC and LA area. Therefore, if the case is in fact ready to settle an attorney may take it. However, you must let him know that you want it done immediately and what is an estimated time because you dont want the attorney to hold the case in order to have more grounds to request more attorney fees from your prior.