When Gordon & Doner clients call lawyer Adam Werner, they're often surprised to immediately get him on the phone. Werner serves as the lead attorney for the firm's workers' compensation, veterans' disability and Social Security disability divisions, and he says he makes it a point to be accessible.
"I think paying attention to the client is what separates Gordon & Doner from other law firms," Werner says.
The kind of personal attention Werner provides is vital to clients seeking compensation from government programs and insurance companies that often regard applicants as "just a number," Werner says.
Many of Werner's clients are people that have been injured on the job, often in construction trades, or who have suffered an illness or injury from their military service. Those clients face significant hurdles when they try to handle complex workers' comp, veterans' disability or Social Security disability claims on their own.
"What typically happens is that when workers get hurt, the insurance adjuster calls them and initially things go well, but what they don't know is that some adjusters only want to save money for the insurance company. Eventually, the insurance company tries to push them out of a claim," Werner says.
"In the workers' comp system," Werner continues, "doctors are chosen by the insurance company. Even if something is wrong with a worker, the insurance company doctors may say that he or she is fine and can go back to work. It really comes down to hurt workers getting taken advantage of."
A lawyer's involvement can make all the difference for a client, Werner says.
"If these injured workers don't have an attorney to get involved and fight for their claim, it often just goes away," he says.
As a student at the University of Florida, Werner studied political science. After graduation, he went to law school at Nova Southeastern University, then took a job with the State Attorney's Office handling criminal prosecutions. He then chose to go into civil practice.
Werner says it's fulfilling to help people in need, especially those who may have lost the ability to earn a living because of a disabling injury.
Werner recalls one claim he handled for a client. The claim may have been small, but Werner's legal help made a major difference to the woman, who had been dropped unexpectedly from the workers' compensation program.
"They denied her case out of nowhere after she went to the doctor and said her back was acting up due to an old work injury from the early 1990s," Werner says. "She told her doctor she aggravated her back. But the insurance company tried to blame the pain on a new accident which never actually occurred and they were dropping her out of the program. She was very upset. She felt she was entitled to these benefits. It went to a workers' compensation final hearing and we won. For her it wasn't about money. It was about getting the benefits she was entitled to."
Away from the office, Werner enjoys spending time with his family. He also enjoys running and competing in triathlons.
In serving the community, Werner is a member of the Young Lawyers Board of the Florida Justice Association and is active in the Palm Beach County chapter of the Safe Kids Coalition, a group whose goal is to keep newborns through teenagers safe.
Admitted to bar: 2007, Florida; 2008, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida. Education: University of Florida (B.A., 2003); Nova Southeastern University (J.D., 2007). Member: Palm Beach County Justice Association; Florida Justice Association; American Bar Association; Palm Beach County Bar Association; and The Florida Bar.