Written by attorney Wesley M. Lawrence

Defense attorney's perspective: What a Claimant's attorney looks for in a client

Vermont claimants are hard working and have legitimate injuries. Some may malinger. Some may be bitter. Some may exaggerate their legitimate injuries and symptoms. Some may just be miserable individuals. But, most have a legitimate workers’ compensation claim.

Are you wondering whether you're a good fit for a Claimant's attorney or how you'll be percevied by the insurance carrier or defense counsel.

What An Attorney Looks For in a New Client/Claimant/Injured Worker

  • Honesty
  • Trust
  • Significant work-related injury with lost time
  • Denied claim
  • Value of the case (Nature of injury, Claimant’s average weekly wage)
  • Needs help – not receiving any or all benefits owed
  • Lengthy work history
  • Favorable employer reviews
  • Witnessed injury
  • Timeliness of the claim (See 21 V.S.A. §§656, 660)
  • Legitimate desire to return to work
  • No prior injuries or issues with affected body part or clear aggravation of prior injury; no subsequent, non-work-related injuries to same part.
  • Willingness to share medical history and provide a release
  • Willingness to attend one or more Independent Medical Examinations
  • Willingness to stay within restrictions
  • Good communication
  • Reasonable expectations
  • Patience/Understanding of effect of a denial that is upheld pending Formal Hearing.

What an attorney hopes to avoid to Avoid in a New Client/Injured Worker/Claimant

  • Dishonesty
  • Embellishment
  • Malingering behavior
  • Disproportionate anger
  • Unrealistic expectations, wants to get rich from claim
  • Potential client’s presentation during in-person interview does not correlate with claimed injury
  • Poor work history; short work history
  • Recent termination or history of poor reviews
  • Attorney shopping – other well established WC attorneys declined
  • Doctor shopping – physicians not supportive of claim
  • Criminal history
  • Unwitnessed claim/co-workers will not support claim or have provided statements on employer’s behalf
  • Untimely claim
  • Denial appears reasonable
  • Monday morning claim
  • Low claim value, low average weekly wage, no lost time
  • Impossible to reach by phone
  • Refusal to appear at an IME; execute a medical release
  • Unwilling to agree to reasonable attorney fee agreement
  • Unwilling to compromise claim

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