A workers' compensation lawsuit can take a dreadfully long time -- especially when you're stuck at home, in pain, without work to distract you. On top of that, you probably have unpaid bills piling up and no end in sight.
So, naturally, it's certainly understandable if you call your attorney's office every couple weeks to ask for an update on your case. Unfortunately, if you don't know the right questions to ask, you may end up ending the call without knowing much more than you did when you began it.
That's a waste of time and effort. If you're ready to turn things around so that you can be more empowered, ask these four questions the next time you call:
1. "What is the current strategy for my case?"
This is a bit different than saying, "What's happening with my case?" and probably a lot closer to what you really want to know. While records are being requested or reviewed, not much may be happening but there's always a strategy in place. Strategy always involves playing on a case's strengths and downplaying its weaknesses as much as possible. This question will encourage your attorney to explain if the plan is to try to settle, prepare for trial, ask for retraining or ultimately qualify for disability benefits.
2. "When is the next hearing and what can I expect to happen?"
You need to know whether the next hearing is just a scheduling conference or a meeting to exchange information and evidence. Your attorney may be attending several hearings without you—but you can keep better track of how your case is proceeding if you know when the next date is scheduled and what is supposed to be accomplished.
3. "What type of settlement do you think I will receive?
If it's early in your case, your attorney may not know. However, if the case has been winding through the system for a while, your attorney knows what he or she is asking the other side to give and probably has a good idea how much of that you'll ultimately get. While your attorney can't guarantee a settlement, having an idea of the amount you could eventually see helps you plan for the future more realistically.
4. "What can I do to help my case proceed?"
Your attorney may have some definite advice that you need to hear—but you might not unless you ask. For example, if you're suffering from depression as a result of your injuries or illness, your attorney may think that seeking treatment from a psychiatrist or psychologist—not just your primary care physician—is a good idea. He or she may also encourage you to ask your employer for a light-duty assignment or go on a job search to demonstrate that you've been trying to overcome your difficulty.
The goal of an update phone call is partly to reassure yourself that everything is going according to plan. It's also partly to find out how you can be a more active participant in your own case in order to make it a success. For more information, talk to services such as Oxner + Permar, PLLC.Share