Posted on: 1 December 2016
If you were recently injured while at work and you are considering hiring a workers' compensation lawyer, then the price of this type of lawyer is probably at the top of your mind. But what you do need to know is that the cost of hiring this type of lawyer is dependent upon contingency fees. This is the same way most other types of lawyers receive their payment. It means if you lose your case, your attorney is not paid. But if you win your case, the lawyer will keep a previously agreed upon percentage of your benefits or settlement amount. Keep reading to learn more about the cost of hiring a workers' comp attorney:
State Rules On Attorney Fees For Workers' Comp Cases
Every state has their own rules and regulations when it comes to how much an attorney can charge clients when it comes to workers' compensation claims. Also, the fees charged take into consideration the complexity of the case and the dollar amount of the benefits the client is requesting. Typically, if your case is settled before you have an administrative hearing, you will pay a lower fee than if your case goes to trial. This is because there is more work for an attorney to do in order to be prepared for trial.
If you are looking for routine benefits, like lost wages or medical bill coverage, then most states don't allow attorneys to charge a fee, unless they are disputed by the insurer or employer. But keep in mind that no matter how large or small your workers' compensation claim is, your lawyer won't be paid until the fee amount is approved by a judge.
One more thing to keep in mind is that if your insurer or employer has caused delays in the process or has deplorable or intolerable conduct, your attorney can ask the judge to order the opposing side to pay for all your attorney fees, or request an additional penalty amount on top of your benefit amount.
Additional Expenses May Be Required
In addition, your attorney can tack on more fees and expenses, which are not covered by standard state fee agreements. These are fees charged for the work needed to litigate your case and include these common expenses:
- Attorney travel expenses
- Requests for medical records
- Costs of depositions
- Costs to copy forms and other documentation
- Filing fees
- Costs associated with independent physician exams
Before you hire any attorney to handle your workers' compensation case, make sure you completely understand the expense agreement and all the fees the lawyer is going to charge you. And be aware that there are some attorneys out there that will still charge you expenses if your case is lost.
Ability To Negotiate The Fees And Costs
Luckily, you do have the ability to negotiate the fees and expenses a lawyer charges you. But the chances of being successful at lowering the cost will greatly depend on the strength of your case and the amount of benefits you are expected to win. Make sure you do all your negotiating prior to signing the fee agreement and attorney representation agreement. If you wait until after, the chances are slim an attorney would reduce their fees.
Now that you have a better understanding of the cost of hiring a workers' compensation attorney, you can understand the biggest benefit of this type of payment. Since there is no need for up-front payments, it allows low-income injured workers the ability to receive quality legal representation. It is also great incentive for workers' comp lawyers to seek the maximum amount of benefits for those they represent.
If you have any other questions about the cost of hiring a workers' compensation attorney, call your local legal office that specializes in workers' comp cases. They will be happy to help you. Many even offer free consultations. All you have to do is call.Share