The Women's Journal

Delaware Workers’ Compensation Benefits –

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pip nc jas17 Heather A. Long

What to expect when hiring a lawyer

By Heather A. Long, Esquire


Being injured at work is stressful. Hiring a lawyer to secure the workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to shouldn’t be.

Recently I’ve had some injured workers come in to meet with me for their free consultation, and tell me that they were very anxious and worried before we met.  It seems that there are some pre-conceived ideas that meeting with a lawyer is a scary thing- but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be.

Usually I will spend time on the phone with someone when they are requesting a consultation. Notice, I said that I’d be talking with them. Not a paralegal, secretary or other staff. Once we chat for a bit on the phone, if it seems like a valid case, I’ll schedule a time to sit down with the injured worker and review their paperwork and discuss the case in greater detail. Again, an important factor is that I personally meet with the injured workers. The initial meeting- which, by the way is free- is such an important event that it is imperative that the attorney and client meet face to face to review the facts of the case.

I typically spend over an hour with the injured worker in the initial consultation meeting. We discuss all the facts of the case, such as how they became injured, any prior injuries they’ve had, any medical treatment they’ve received after the injury and whether they are entitled to lost wage payments. These are all issues of paramount importance to injured workers, and to the effective litigation of their injury claim.

After gathering the facts of the injury, we then discuss the benefits available to them as an injured Delaware worker. There are 7 basic benefits, and we review each one in detail, further discussing the application of each benefit to the injured worker.

If I believe that there is a valid workers’ compensation claim, and the injured worker wants to retain our services, a “Retainer Agreement” is executed. This is a formal, written agreement that indicates that I will represent them for their work injury, and in return, will earn a percentage of their injury settlement IF and WHEN I get them money.  Therefore, if I am not successful in getting the injured worker a payout, then I don’t get paid either and more importantly, they don’t owe me or my firm any money.  I also do NOT take a percentage of any wages paid to the injured worker on a weekly basis. This means that there is little to no risk on the part of the injured worker in retaining me, but also on the flip side of the coin, means that I do not take cases that I don’t think I can win.

Once I’ve been hired, I stay in touch with all my clients personally. They are given my direct phone line (also listed below), email address and text number. I ask my clients to call me AT LEAST every month to discuss doctor’s appointments, wages, treatments and any other new developments in their case. Again, notice that this is not something that is pushed off to a secretary, paralegal or other staff member. You, as the client, get full access to talk to me, your attorney. I want to make sure that we talk personally, any time there is a new development in your case or your treatment. As a client, you should expect that you get face time and phone time with your attorney, at no charge, and at your convenience- including evening hours. I am, after all, here to help and serve you, the injured worker.

Navigating a work injury claim on your own can be difficult and stressful. You should have an advocate on your side that is going to pay attention to your concerns, and make time to talk and meet with you personally. Your attorney should endeavor to reduce your stress and uncertainty, while maximizing your recovery. Consultations with me are always free, and as stress-free as I can make them. You should expect nothing less from your attorney!

Heather has been an attorney for over ten years, and is currently practicing Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Law as a partner at Kimmel, Carter, Roman, Peltz & O’Neill, P.A. with offices in Newark and Wilmington. Heather worked her way through law school as a paralegal in a personal injury firm. After passing the bar exam, she spent several years working as a defense attorney, representing local, regional and national companies. With the knowledge gained about the inner-workings of these companies, she now represents injured workers and personal injury plaintiffs.  

Heather is a graduate of Widener University School of Law, and the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Prior to attending law school, she was licensed as a paramedic and spent time volunteering for her local ambulance corps. She is also a former mock trial coach for Friends and Salesianum and current coach for Newark High School.

Heather is licensed to practice law in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, please call (302) 565-6132 or email her directly at [email protected]