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A Day in the Life of a Workers' Comp Lawyer

Jason A. Mullins, a HammondTownsend attorney, gives a glimpse into what the attorneys do each day.

In a typical day, Jason may have meetings or phone calls with clients; conduct depositions; research case law; participate in phone conferences or meetings with doctors to discuss cases; have a case review or a plan-of-action meeting with paralegals; participate in settlement negotiations with opposing attorneys; or travel to and attend an evidentiary hearing. Those are a lot of different tasks, so let’s break them down.

Case Load

Cases progress at different rates: some injuries have just happened and the case is in the gathering information stage, others are waiting for a date to be heard by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, while still others may be going through an appeals process as the employer’s insurance company attempts to deny compensation to the injured worker. Jason has around 100 cases at any one time.

Information Gathering

Cases start with a consult between a client and attorney, and as the client requests or the lawyer needs it, additional phone calls or meetings are arranged during the process. Jason may have meetings with new clients and phone calls with existing clients, for example.

He may take depositions. A deposition is a formal statement you make under oath that your lawyers will use in your legal case.

He may research case law. Case law is a law that is established by precedent, or what was done in previous, similar cases. A previous case that is like your case can help your lawyer prepare his argument for the Commission.

Jason may speak with doctors about a worker’s condition, to learn how long they will be unable to work.

Case Review

Lawyers and paralegals work together to make sure that all of the necessary material is gathered for a case and to see what steps are next. Are they waiting on a report from a doctor? Are they preparing for an evidentiary hearing? Jason works with the paralegals assigned to the cases he is working on and discusses each case individually.

Settlement Negotiations and Evidentiary Hearings

Jason may speak with lawyers for the insurance company to negotiate a settlement or the compensation (money) that both sides agree to for a case.

The evidentiary hearings, where both sides present a case to a Deputy Commissioner, are scattered across 27 locations in Virginia. On a typical day, Jason may travel to the hearings, which can be near his office in Roanoke or elsewhere in the state. An evidentiary hearing takes 30-60 minutes, which is not a lot of time to present cases. To prepare, Jason makes sure he knows all the points he wants to make and ways to refute points out that the employer’s insurance company makes. The preparation he did in the information gathering and case review stages help him at these final stages.

If you’ve been injured at work, call HammondTownsend for a free consultation at 888-580-9048.

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