We’ve been hearing more and more from injured workers who are not happy with the lawyers recommended by their union. Some injured workers say they feel they are forced to hire these lawyers for their work injury claims. In quite a few cases there is more going on as to why a union refers their injured members to a certain lawyer or law firm.
When a union member is injured at work, they often contact their union for initial advice, and for assistance with for example return to work matters. Many unions will recommend hiring a lawyer and they might even provide the name of a law firm for the injured worker to call. Whilst this may just be a helpful referral, in some cases, there is much more going on.
Many injured workers are not happy with lawyers recommended by union
We’ve been hearing more and more from injured workers who are not happy with the lawyers recommended by their union. Some really feel forced to hire these lawyers for their work injury claims. The specific complaints we hear is that the lawyers injured workers are referred to by their Union merely “blow off their cases” once they’re in the door. Many injured workers don’t feel like they’ve hired the right workers compensation lawyer (or law firm).
Some law firms are known as “union firms,” and these law firms get a lot of business sent their way through the Union they affiliate with. Whilst arguably that in itself is not a problem; the question we need to ask ourselves is: Why are the unions recommending these particular law firms?
Some of these law firms are good, but some (more than you think) are not!
As stated on our “Decent Lawyers” page, the worst lawyers are the assembly-line-factory-type lawyers or law firms (aka sharks or ambulance chasers). They represent hundreds of injured workers at one given time, and they are strictly in the business for the quick money.
We have been thinking and inquiring about the reason why unions recommend a particular law firm. One reason could be the relationships between the law firm’s and the union heads. Yes, there are stories of these law firms taking union heads on holidays, and buying them rather expensive gifts etc. This would obviously be against the law (bribing), but that’s not to say it doesn’t happen!
These alleged arrangements are obviously mutually beneficial for the law firms and the union heads. The law firms get tons of business; the union heads get perks. But where are the injured workers in this equation? Shouldn’t they be the priority?
A lawyer or law firm for that matter should always be recommended based on their specific ability to best represent a client – the injured worker.
When it comes to a work injury, the lawyer you hire should have specific experience with your type of injury, especially if it is something more rare or complex.
There is just no way that one law firm (or one lawyer) is going to be the best choice for every single injury. For example, if you suffered a heart attack because of work, a CRPS (chronic regional pain syndrome – aka RSD) case, a repetitive strain injury (i.e. carpal tunnel), stress claim, or complex back injury, you will need a lawyer/ law firm with that specialised experience.Injured workers also want to make sure they are represented by lawyers who only act for injured workers and not for the defense (i.e. employer, insurer)!
When unions refer injured members to a law firm / lawyer, it should be based on the best interests of the injured worker, period.
We firmly believe you should, at least, be given all the information about a law firm (and why the Union prefers this firm), and get a referral (if any) based on your individual needs and a law firm / lawyer with the proven ability to meet those needs.
Did anyone of you also had a bad experience with a union referred law-firm / lawyer?
[Post dictated by WorkcoverVictim and transcribed on her behalf]