Workers’ Compensation Attorneys perform many tasks during a regular workday. Many of these tasks limit their availability to clients. The reason for this limited availability is that Workers’ Compensation Attorneys perform many tasks performed which prohibit them from being able to be reached via phone call, text, or email. This article will discuss the various tasks that Workers’ Compensation Attorneys perform which may limit their availability to clients.
What Are the Common Tasks That Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Perform?
The common tasks that Workers’ Compensations Attorney include as follows: Court Appearances: hearings before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, and Discovery: depositions of injured workers, witnesses and expert witnesses. These expert witnesses can include medical doctors, psychologists, and vocational counselors. Attorneys also have office time in which they are preparing correspondence or pleadings or are communicating to various participants in the workers’ compensation system. These participants can include clients, insurance companies, opposing counsel, and medical practitioners.
Are There Any Tasks Which Limit Workers’ Compensation Attorneys’ Ability to Communicate?
When Workers’ Compensation Attorneys are at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, there are a number of times at which they are not reachable.
Frequently, Workers’ Compensation Attorneys appear on conferences before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. These conferences include Status Conferences, Mandatory Settlement Conferences, and AOE/COE Priority Conferences.
During these conferences, there are times at which Workers’ Compensation Attorneys are not reachable. There are many Workers’ Compensation Judges who do not permit Workers’ Compensation Attorneys to use their phones while in their courtroom. Further, in conferences, there are times at which the parties meet the Workers’ Compensation Judge “in chambers.” “In chambers” means the Judge’s personal office which is located next to the actual courtroom. It is found to be extremely impolite to interrupt an “in chambers” meeting with a phone call.
Beyond the conferences, there are two other types of hearings upon which may make a Workers’ Compensation Attorney unavailable. These are Expedited Hearings and Trials.
During these hearings, the Workers’ Compensation Judge may go “on the record.” By “on the record,” this means that the Workers’ Compensation Judge had instituted proceedings in which the parties are present, a court reporter is present, and witnesses may be present. These proceeds are to be heard without interruption. It would be considered highly improper to take a phone call when in court.
Further, for a Workers’ Compensation Attorney, when the parties are “on the record” even viewing text messages or emails may be considered improper. Workers’ Compensations Judges have commented to Workers’ Compensation Attorneys during proceedings that they should not be “playing” with their phones during the proceedings and devote their full attention to the matter at hand. Also, during Trials and Expedited Hearings, prior to going “on the record,” frequently the parties meet with the Workers’ Compensation Judge “in chambers” to frame the issues.
Are There Other Reasons That Attorneys Are Not Reachable In Court?
The two other reasons that come up are that the attorney forgot their phone. Their phone ran out of charge. Finally, there may be bad reception at the particular Appeals Board.
When Are Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Busy When They Are Not In Court?
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, when they are not in court and not in their offices, are usually conducting discovery. Discovery, in workers’ compensation, frequently involves depositions. A deposition is the taking of a witness under oath. This testimony is to be considered as if the person is testifying at court. Therefore, while the deposition is informal, it is of a serious nature. The deposition involves the employment of a court reporter. The witnesses can include doctors, who are being paid to be present at the deposition, injured workers, or witnesses.
During the time a deposition is taking place, it is improper to take a phone call. Depositions may involve witnesses who have limited time and availability. There may also be a costs associates with their appearance. Some individuals may be charging an hourly fee to be present at the deposition. Therefore, taking a call may be costing other people money.
Therefore, while an attorney is at a deposition, phone calls should only be done during breaks. Further, the deposition may be of a level of intensity that a phone call may represent a distraction to the attorney. As a result, they may not want to take the call.
As A Client or Prospective Client, What Should I Take Out of This Article?
As a client or a prospective client, you should be patient in trying to get in touch with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney. Successful Workers’ Compensation Attorneys are frequently engaged in litigation which makes their availability limited. It may take some time for them to get back to you.
If you are having difficulties, you should contact their offices to see if they can assist in communication. Again, if a Workers’ Compensation Attorney is not taking your call, you should not feel that they are avoiding the call. They may be in a situation in which they are simply not available to take it.
What if I Need Advice?
If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 27 years. Contact us today for more information.