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Choose the Right Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Choosing the right workers’ compensation attorney can make a big difference in the outcome of your case, especially in a complex and highly specialized area like workers’ compensation. While all attorneys must have a law degree and pass the state bar exam in order to practice law in Vermont, their depth of experience and overall competence can vary widely. Having the right attorney on your side can affect not only whether you win your case but also any settlement you may be awarded. Here are three things to look for if you are considering hiring a workers’ compensation attorney to help with a Vermont claim.
  1. Ask a prospective attorney how much of her firm’s work is focused on workers’ compensation. The firm you choose should specialize in representing injured workers’ compensation claimants, not insurance companies. The firm should have more than one workers’ compensation attorney, as well as a team of paralegals and support staff who are trained and experienced in handling workers’ compensation claims.
  2. Find out if the firm has a statewide reputation for workers’ compensation work. Ask an organization that assists the public with legal issues, such as the Vermont Bar Association or the Vermont Department of Labor whether they would recommend this firm for workers’ compensation work. The firm’s web site should communicate their track record with articles and information about workers’ compensation, client testimonials, and case studies.
  3. Ask the attorney to demonstrate his firm’s competence in workers’ compensation law. The firm should have numerous published workers’ compensation decisions, in their favor (this information is publicly available at www.labor.vermont.gov/legal-information/#decisions). The attorney should be able to talk knowledgeably about the staff, policies, and practices at Vermont Department of Labor and at your employer’s insurance company. His firm should be able to represent you throughout the entire workers’ compensation process—including at administrative hearings and appeals and in both the Superior (trial) Court and the Vermont Supreme Court.
In short, the workers’ compensation attorney or firm you choose should specialize in workers’ compensation, should be well-known in this field, and should be able to demonstrate a depth of experience, expertise, and success. The right workers’ compensation attorney can help you obtain the best outcome for your claim—and a better quality of life for you and your family in years to come. Photo caption: Biggam, Fox & Skinner Workers’ Compensation Team. Back: Ron Fox, Kelly Massicotte, Heidi Groff, Ashley Gildersleeve, Pat Biggam. Front: Charilyn Williams, Becky Sahlin, Chris O’Neill

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