Virginia Workers’ Compensation Law is a specialty field. You would not choose a general practitioner for brain surgery so why would you choose a general practitioner for your workers compensation claim? You just cannot assume every attorney knows the ins and outs of Workers’ Compensation Law.
One place to start is to check and see if the attorney lists himself or herself as a specialist in the Yellow Pages.
The next thing to do is to check and see if the attorney has been rated by Martindale-Hubbell, an organization that rates attorneys according to how their peer groups have rated them. In their guide an “AV" rating is highest, the middle rating is “BV, " and the lowest rating for attorneys just starting out is “CV. " You should ask the attorney for his/her Martindale-Hubbell rating.
Next, you should check the attorney's web site. Does the attorney hold himself/herself out as a specialist in workers’ compensation law. Does he/she have helpful information about workers’ compensation law on his/her web site? Does he list what type of cases he/she has handled in the past?
Next, you should ask the attorney if he/she belongs to the Virginia Trial Lawyers’ Subcommittee on workers’ compensation. Almost all attorneys who specialize in workers’ compensation law in Virginia are members of this subcommittee.
Also, always check with the Virginia State Bar at (804) 775-0570 to find out if anyone has filed any complaints against the attorney.
You can ask your friends and relatives if they have been injured at work and have had to retain an attorney.
Finally, you should ask the attorney for any brochures the attorney may have prepared about workers’ compensation. These are my suggestions based on 30 years in the field.
This may be considered AN ADVERTISEMENT or Advertising Material under the Rules of Professional Conduct governing lawyers in Virginia. This note is designed for general information only. The information presented in this note should not be construed as legal advice.
Gerald G. Lutkenhaus can be reached at http://www.geraldlutkenhaus.com or http://www.virginiadisabilitylawyer.com
Gerald G. Lutkenhaus has been representing Social Security Disability claimants for 30 years in the Central Richmond Area in Virginia. He was given Martindale Hubbell's highest rating of AV in 2003. In the July 1999 issue of Richmond Magazine he was also recognized as the One of the Best Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Central Virginia.