1. Do you want the large national law firm? The large local law firm? An intermediate size local law firm? A local law firm with two, three or four insurance defense attorneys? A local sole practitioner? If a large or intermediate size law firm, how many defense attorneys do you want assigned to your workers compensation claims? If a small firm, do they have the resources to handle your volume of work comp claims?
2. Does the insurance defense attorney(s) handle only defense work, or do they also handle work comp claims for employees of other companies?
3. Are the insurance defense attorney(s) amenable to in-depth interview before you make a selection of who will provide legal services on your work comp claims?
4. Will the insurance defense attorney(s) provide references from other clients (preferably in your industry) that you can contact?
5. What is the insurance defense attorneys philosophy on keeping cost down while at the same time providing the best possible defense for your company?
6. Do the insurance defense attorneys have an in-depth understanding of the workers compensation laws and administrative regulations in the state(s) where they do business?
7. Do the insurance defense attorneys have extensive experience in hearings before the Board / Commission?
8. Do the insurance defense attorneys have an in-depth understanding of the peripheral statutes that can impact workers compensation claims – like subrogation, social security disability, vocational rehabilitation, etc.?
9. Will the insurance defense attorney(s) seek early resolution of the workers compensation claims?
10. Can the insurance defense attorney(s) provide valuable insight into local practices for arbitration, mediation and settlement negotiations?
11. Are the insurance defense attorneys amenable to complying with your Litigation Management Best Practices?
12. What is the legal fee structure? What is the hourly rate charged for para-legals, junior partners and senior partners?
13. How will the case be developed and staffed? Will the insurance defense attorney delegate work to subordinates when possible to achieve efficiency and cost-effectiveness without diminishing the defense quality?
14. What is the billing time frame? Monthly? Quarterly? Yearly? One bill at the end of the claim?
15. What leeway will the insurance defense attorney(s) have in incurring expenses beyond routine office expenses?
16. What will be the parameters for the insurance defense attorney to be compensated for legal research?
17. What will be the reporting requirements? Does the insurance defense attorney(s) provide an initial report outlining how the case will be handled? Monthly reports? Quarterly reports? Reports after each major development?
18. What are the electronic capabilities of the law firm? Will the law firm be given access to your risk management / claim management information system?
19. Are the insurance defense attorneys active in the state and local bar association? Are the attorneys active in the bar associations committees on work comp?
20. Will the insurance defense attorney(s) be amenable to legal fee audits?
21. Will the insurance defense attorney(s) provide copies of deposition transcripts? Expert Reports? Board / Commission decisions? Medical reports? (WCxKit)
Author Rebecca Shafer, J.D. President, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
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