Whether it’s for workers’ compensation benefits, social security disability disputes or personal injury cases – Mitch Dugan has dedicated the past 30 years of his life to helping others receive the coverage they deserve. Dugan’s firm, founded in 2000, provides legal representation services to clients with no fee unless recovery is made; providing a risk-free option to those seeking professional help for tough situations.
With the cards stacked against them from uncooperative employers or insurance companies, Dugan acts as a resource for his clients in order to help them weather the storm. And more often than not, they emerge victorious with money in their pocket.
Dugan, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Law, has elevated his way through the ranks to become one of the Steel City’s most prominent lawyers. He’s an active member of the American Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Allegheny County Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives and the Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. He’s also licensed to practice in both the Pennsylvania State Courts and the Western District of the Federal Courts.
You’ve probably seen Dugan’s face on billboards, bus stop advertisements or even TV commercials. Though there’s more to him than what meets the eye. He recently agreed to an exclusive interview in order to provide potential clients with a detailed look into his perspective on his career.
Q: What do you feel is the most rewarding part of your job? A: If you have somebody who has a significant injury and you can help them move on with their life, help them deal with the situation that they’re going through. They’re injured, they’re scared, worried about their future and payment of their medical bills. They’re worried about their wage loss. Are they ever going to go back to the work that they did and get better? You’re trying to figure out how to help the people manage through the system and deal with it.
Q: Did you always aspire to become a lawyer when you were young? If not, why did you choose this career path? A: I became a lawyer because I wanted to help people and make positive changes. I had a distant relative – my great uncle was the only person in my family who went to college. He was a lawyer and I saw how he was someone people respected in the community. I wanted to follow that path to helping others and being a resource for this community.
Q: What’s an example of a typical case for you where you’d help someone and act as that resource for your community? A: I had a guy whose father’s hand got caught in a dough-making machine and it ripped off his index finger, half of his middle finger and tore the tendons and ligaments in the rest of his hand. Now, with his pinky, ring finger and thumb all torn, he has a claw and can’t move it. His employer is only agreeing that he injured his two fingers and they’re coming after him. We’re trying to get him the compensatory benefits he deserves in order to be able to move on with his life.
Q: What is the most challenging part of your job? A: Just trying to help people understand there are limitations to the system and help them accept that the situation they’re in. We try to maximize as much as we can the money and benefits for them, but there are still limitations to the system that need to be explained. I had a client who was driving down the road, and some guy shot him in the neck for no reason. He was on the course of his employment and now he’s paralyzed so – obviously – he can’t work. But the insurance company wants to attack his benefits. I need to make him aware of what his options are, which isn’t always easy. It’s not always sunshine and butterflies over here, but it’s something I enjoy and something I’m passionate about.