No. Workers’ compensation attorneys get paid by a “contingency fee.” This fee is a portion of your financial settlement. In addition to that, you also reimburse the lawyer from the settlement for any costs expended to help your case.
This fee arrangement helps you because your lawyer should be driven to get the best settlement possible—the more you get, the more he earns.
To give you a better idea how this works, we’ll break it down a little more.
Workers’ Compensation Attorney Fees
The law caps attorney fees at a maximum of one-third of your monetary settlement. Before anyone gets paid from it, your lawyer must submit a form signed by both of you showing payments from the settlement—his fee, the reimbursed costs, and the amount you get.
No one gets paid until the commission approves the fees and costs by order. This protects workers from dishonest lawyers who charge too much.
Typical Workers’ Compensation Case Costs
Your lawyer pays these costs upfront to help your case. At Holland & Usry, we work to minimize these expenses—without hurting your case—to help you get the most money possible.
Typical case expenses include:
- Filing fees paid to the workers’ compensation commission to officially start your case. You have a deadline to file, so we do this to keep you from losing your rights.
- Fees charged by providers for medical records. We can’t fully evaluate your case without knowing what your doctors say. We especially need information from your medical caregivers that will help use evaluate your impairment rating.
- Fees charged by your doctor to meet with him. Sometimes we meet with your doctor to discuss your case, especially to be sure he relates the injury to work, to discuss impairment ratings, and evaluate whether you need future medical care. This isn’t a bribe—it makes up for the time he loses with patients to meet with us.
These costs are usually a few hundred bucks or less. But if your case is contested, we may have additional costs, due to:
- Depositions. This is out-of-court sworn testimony where the insurance company lawyer asks you all about your background, injury, and the impact it had on your life at work and home. We may also take depositions, if absolutely necessary.
- Vocational evaluation. If we’re trying to prove you eligible for maximum benefits of permanent and total disability or wage loss, we may need an expert to tell us whether you can work again and, if so, the limits of your ability to earn wages.
- Mediation. This may be required in serious cases listed above. In mediation, the parties hire another lawyer with no interest in the outcome and experience in comp cases to help them settle it. Read more about it here.
Contested case costs can run into the low thousands.
The Good News—All The Legal Work Costs You Nothing Up Front
If you’ve been hurt at work, you have nothing to lose by meeting with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. And by hiring one, you might have more to gain than you thought. Start a live chat with us right now to schedule a free meeting to see what we can do to help your case.