In general, attorneys do not engage in substantial phone consultations with people who have not entered into a retainer agreement and paid the agreed upon retainer fee. Moreover, this office does not give advice or take action without having reviewed the OWCP file. Consequently, after being retained the first thing this office will do is ask you, and OWCP, for all the documentation relating to your claim – and then we will read it.
Ask yourself; do you really want advice that might affect hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical, wage loss or retraining benefits from an attorney who has not read your entire file? Look at it this way, if you are a 35 year old Postal employee, and suffer a disabling back injury such that you will never work again, and you are going to live 75, your lifetime wage loss compensation may amount to $1,200,000.00, or more. (40 years X $30,000.00 per year = $1,200,000.00)
If you don’t believe your case is might be worth a million dollars in lifetime benefits, you better believe your employing agency does!
Case in point, I entered a case that had over 8,000 pages of documents (I weighed the file to come up with that number). Originally, the client brought only a few pages that really told me very little about the case – but the client thought those documents were the heart of the case. Despite the client thinking they knew the important parts of the case, they failed to read the letter from OWCP accepting the claim – 8 years before walking into my office! That letter was worth over $220,000.00, and the client had failed to read the letter much less understand its importance.
I hope this example helps you understand the importance of having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney read your entire file – not just the parts you believe are important.
Finally, during your initial phone conversation with an attorney, despite your assertions that you are telling the attorney everything he or she needs to know to go to a hearing in two days, or engage in a phone conference with your Claims Examiner over the termination of your benefits tomorrow – you are not. There is always much more in your file than you know.
The moral of the story is: retain your attorney at the earliest sign of a problem – sooner rather than later – don’t wait until the last minute.