first, you want to choose a lawyer that is reputable in the field of workers compensation/personal injury. for sure there is a workers compensation claim and there may be a third party suit depending on how and why the accident happened. billboards and telephone book ads are not always the best source. the local county bar association will have a referral list and the WA trial lawyers association will have a listing of injury lawyers. if you are a member of a union often there are other workers who have also been hurt and might have a name. when you meet the lawyer look for whether the person seems organized, clear, willing to listen and thoughtful. also check out the surroundings and the support staff. the lawyer should be able to answer any questions you have. good luck.
When deciding what attorney to choose you want to know how long they have been practicing in worker’s comp., have they been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” or “Best Lawyer”. If the Washington State Bar has a worker’s compensation and/or personal injury sections is the attorney a member of these sections. Also, does the attorney lecture at legal seminars on worker’s compensation and/or personal injury matters. Finally, just because someone does not advertise that is not an indicator of their legal ability.
You should also check out their website and see if that have a profile here at Avvo and whether that have been endorsed by attorneys or clients. Most personal injury or worker’s comp. attorneys offer free consultations.
A good place to start looking for a lawyer is to ask if a friend or family member has a lawyer they trust. While that lawyer may not know workers comp, they will likely know of an lawyer who does. Be aware a lot of good Washington workers comp attorneys will take cases all around the state, so don't worry so much about finding a local attorney. Instead, find a lawyer who focuses on workers compensation.
Any lawyer you hire should be knowledgeable about (a) your condition and (b) where you are in your claim. A good workers compensation lawyer knows about LNI (or the self-insured employer) and should be able to tell you how your case is progressing. The lawyer should also review records on your case before agreeing to be your lawyer, so they know that you actually need an attorney.
When you hire a lawyer, you are hiring someone to advocate and advise you. So make sure you are able to communicate well with the lawyer and their office, and that you trust the person. A good way to do that is not only to ask about your case but also about the lawyer's experience. I'd recommend asking about how much of the lawyer's practice is in workers comp, how long they have practiced, if they belong to any organizations providing training on workers comp issues, and if they hold malpractice insurance.
"Workers' Compensation lawyers" and "personal injury lawyers" are two different types of lawyers. There is little to no overlap between those two areas of law. Since you got hurt at work, you need a "workers' compensation lawyer." Based on the facts you posted, you will not need a personal injury lawyer. Workers' comp is probably going to be your exclusive remedy. Choose your lawyer carefully. Look for good ratings on AVVO, a Martindale. com rating of "AV" and inclusion in either the Best Lawyers in America or Superlawyers or both.
Answers by attorney's Peters and Bollinger above are spot on.
In addition, if you may never work again, you will want a workers compensation lawyer who can get you a pension. Pensions are the brass ring on the merry go round of L&I benefits.. Getting one can change your life for the better.