Nicole Girard 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski, Attorney At Law Personal Worker’s Compensation Representation With Integrity For more than twenty-five years, Bob Wisniewski has given injured Arizona workers his undivided attention. Keeping with the growing trend among attorneys for specialization, Wisniewski has made a name for himself with his unique brand of personalized, one-on-one, legal representation in workers’ compensation matters. “I’m a sole practitioner,” said Wisniewski, a certified specialist in Workers’ Compensation. “When you hire me, you get me, not an associate or another partner. You get me.” My slogan says it all: “Hurt on the Job, Call Bob!” From the initial interview through litigation, the client can be assured that Bob Wisniewski is personally responsible for every aspect of the case. “I know every detail of the client’s claim and medical records. I’m the one from the initial interview through all the hearings,” he said. To date, Wisniewski has successfully handled thousands of workers’ compensation cases, litigating over 7500 administrative hearings across Arizona. In his career, he has litigated in every county in Arizona. He believes he has litigated more compensation cases than any other claimant’s lawyer in Arizona. In recognition of his expertise in workers’ compensation and liens, he lectures statewide to lawyers. He also has testified as an expert witness in state and federal courts. Occasionally, lawyers hire him to compromise insurance company liens. At times, he represents uninsured employers. Presently, he confines his practice to central, northern and western Arizona, including Yuma. “Litigation is the only way to get people benefits,” he said. “If you are not willing to go to court, insurance companies will not take you seriously.” “My duty to my client is paramount. On-the-job injuries severely impact the worker and his family. I try to give the best service, to speak for the injured worker, who can’t speak for himself,” Wisniewski comments. “I set high standards for my clients, myself and my staff. We apply these principles of honesty and integrity when dealing with opposing counsel,” he said. “I let my clients know we have to focus on what’s important, and gather all the required evidence. Understandably, injured workers tend to personalize the case, assuming the insurance company is doing harm only to them. This doesn’t help their case as they don’t understand what needs to be proven,” Wisniewski said. “The process can be difficult and frustrating for those clients who are less educated, blue-collar workers with language and communication problems. I work with my clients to accurately present the facts to the judge in a personal manner.” Managing Expectations Wisniewski says he believes the Arizona workers’ compensation system is “fair when compared with other states. The Arizona system works well if you understand its parameters.” Regardless, he has noticed that people’s expectations are much higher than the system permits. This he attributes to the problem of most people being confused about what their rights are, and their entitlement. Wisniewski believes that the best offense is an informed client. He devotes a sizeable chunk of his practice to providing information and counsel to injured workers even if he doesn’t take their case. “I explain to people why their case can’t be pursued,” he said. “These are situations where there may be no financial return to my firm, but I see it as my duty regardless.” This altruistic principle has helped attract referrals. Two-thirds of his cases come from satisfied clients and colleagues, particularly attorneys. “Lawyers confidently refer cases to me, recognizing my skill and many years of expertise, and that I do the best for the client, presenting the most effective case possible,“ he said. East to West The son of a refinery mechanic, Wisniewski understands the value of hard work. Working his way through college at several labor jobs, he understands the needs of the working man. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in political science, and a Master’s degree, public administration, Wisniewski served four years as an active duty Air Force officer. To this day, he credits these experiences with having given him the tools necessary to run a successful, independent practice. “The military gives you lots of responsibility,” he said. “You have to be a self-starter, without a lot of direction. You are held responsible for what you accomplish; a successful mission is the goal. It is no different in a client’s case.” Following military service, he entered the University of Toledo College of Law in Ohio, on the GI bill and later relocated to Arizona in 1976. “I came for the weather, like everybody else,” he said. “Plus I knew there was growth opportunity so it seemed like a natural place to go.” He claims to have never heard the term “workers’ compensation” in law school. However, his background, values, and strong desire to help the injured, coupled with later employment, soon led him to the practice of workers’ compensation. A Change of Heart – Justice for the Injured Worker After his clerkship with the chief judge, Arizona Court of Appeals where he was introduced to workers’ compensation law, Wisniewski’s first jobs as an attorney were with insurance defense firms. He represented casualty and workers’ compensation carriers for many years. Interestingly enough, as his career advanced, Wisniewski found himself working both sides of the aisle; representing insurance companies and injured workers. However, he found it increasingly difficult to straddle these opposing areas. He recognized he had to make a choice. “It became very hard to continue to represent insurance companies.” he said. “I decided I wanted to represent real people.” He believes his diverse experiences have given him the advantage of insight into the thinking of his opposition. Since his days as a newly minted lawyer in 1976, Wisniewski’s 36-year career has been split between working in small and medium-sized firms, a national law firm, and finally solopractitioner, but he has always been involved in workers’ compensation. As he converted his practice to injured workers’ representation exclusively, he made the decision to go into business by himself. He felt that by operating independently, he was better able to produce positive results for his clients. “I didn’t want to be responsible for others not doing the job,” he said. “When people come to me, I can guarantee they will get my personal service and quality representation. I am assisted by my knowledgeable and capable English/Spanish bilingual staff; they have almost 50 years of experience and ensure the best client service.” That was over twenty years ago, and he’s never looked back. He truly found his “niche,” or at least, he’s arrived at a practice that works best for him, and by extension, the injured workers of Arizona. His practice has changed over the last two decades. “Twenty years ago my Hispanic clients could be counted on one hand. Now my practice has a significant percentage of Hispanic and other minority clients.” When not working, Wisniewski spends his time with his wife, family, grandchildren and three rescue dogs. He also enjoys outdoor activities and travels in Mexico/Central America to improve his Spanish.
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