An employee is injured on the job or needs medical care for a serious illness. He takes time away from work. The employer is not happy about this. Employers are never happy when a disabled employee needs an accommodation. Reasonable accommodations, though guaranteed by law — things like time off from work, modified job duties or an ergonomic work station — cost employers money. What does the employer do? Oftentimes, they force employees on leaves of absence, harass or retaliate against employees who frequent the doctor, and begin “documenting” so-called “performance issues.” Ultimately, employees are terminated because of their disability or injury.
So what does an employee do? They typically ask Google, Siri, Alexa and other “friends” on the internet for a lawyer. This is fine, to begin, for sure. But how do you know who to hire? You probably don’t. Why not? Because you are not a lawyer, let alone a lawyer with specialized experience in employment law. And even amongst employment lawyers, there is a wide disparity in the results you may obtain. I have personally been able to secure million dollar-range settlements for clients whose former lawyers wanted to settle for their cases for tens or maybe even a hundred thousand dollars. I have even achieved this type of results in cases that were dropped or turned down by other lawyers.
The question becomes, how do you know which lawyer will maximize the results for your case, among the dozens popping up on your Google search? You should must call several law firms until you find one that will meet with you and answer the following questions:
· Does your law firm exclusively handle employment law cases?
· How long have you been practicing law?
· For how long have you been exclusively practicing employment law?
· Who will be the lawyer actually handling my case? Will the work be delegated to junior lawyers?
· How many clients does the law firm have at a time? Is this a high-volume practice or “mill” type firm?
· Is the law firm ready, willing and able to go to trial?
· Will the law firm advance all fees needed to go to trial?
· Are there any upfront fees? (There should not be.)
· What percent of the firm’s cases go to trial?
· What is the firm’s success rate?
Most importantly, do not hire the first firm that takes your call. Employment law and personal injury firms often operate on a high-volume basis, take almost every case, and settle these cases for a usual sum or range of money, regardless of the specific facts of your case. On the other, more positive side, there are very capable, highly-qualified employment lawyers in Los Angeles and throughout California. But if your career or livelihood has been threatened by a wrongful termination, ask and consider the above questions, and hire someone you trust. It could make a million dollar difference.*
* Note – every case is not worth a million dollars. All cases depend on their specific facts.