How Do Workers’ Comp Lawyers Get Paid?
Workers’ compensation is a system designed to protect workers who have been injured or become ill due to their job. When an employee files a workers’ compensation claim, it can be a complex and time-consuming process. Many individuals find themselves overwhelmed and unsure of how they will afford legal representation. This article will explore how workers’ comp lawyers get paid and answer some frequently asked questions about the topic.
1. Contingency Fees:
Most workers’ compensation attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that the lawyer receives a percentage of the benefits awarded to the client if the case is successful. If the attorney is unable to secure any compensation for the client, they will not receive a fee. This arrangement allows injured workers to access legal representation without the burden of upfront costs.
2. Percentage of Benefits:
The specific percentage a workers’ comp lawyer receives can vary depending on the state and the attorney’s experience. However, it is typically around 15% to 25% of the total benefits awarded to the client. This percentage is negotiated between the lawyer and the client and is usually outlined in a written agreement.
3. Out-of-Pocket Expenses:
While the contingency fee covers the attorney’s services, additional expenses incurred during the course of the case may be the client’s responsibility. These out-of-pocket expenses can include filing fees, medical records fees, expert witness fees, and other costs associated with building a strong workers’ compensation claim. It is essential to discuss these expenses with your lawyer upfront and ensure that you have a clear understanding of who will be responsible for paying them.
4. Structured Settlements:
In some cases, workers’ compensation benefits may be awarded as a structured settlement. A structured settlement is a series of periodic payments made over time instead of a lump sum. When a structured settlement is involved, the attorney’s fee may be based on a percentage of the total value of the settlement. This fee structure should be discussed and agreed upon between the attorney and the client before the settlement is reached.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Q: Is there a limit to how much a workers’ comp lawyer can charge?
A: Yes, many states have regulations in place that limit the percentage attorneys can charge for workers’ compensation cases. These limits are in place to protect injured workers from excessive fees. It is advisable to research your state’s regulations or consult with a lawyer to ensure you are aware of any limitations.
Q: What happens if my workers’ comp claim is denied?
A: If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you may need to file an appeal. In this case, your lawyer will continue to represent you and work towards obtaining the benefits you deserve. The contingency fee arrangement remains in effect, and your attorney will only be paid if they are successful in securing compensation.
Q: Can I afford a workers’ comp lawyer if I am already struggling financially?
A: Yes, one of the advantages of the contingency fee arrangement is that it allows injured workers to access legal representation without paying upfront fees. This system ensures that those who need legal assistance can receive it regardless of their financial situation.
Q: Will hiring a workers’ comp lawyer increase my chances of getting benefits?
A: Statistics show that individuals who hire lawyers for their workers’ compensation cases are more likely to receive higher benefit amounts compared to those who navigate the process alone. Attorneys specializing in workers’ comp law have the knowledge and experience necessary to navigate the complex legal system effectively.
In conclusion, workers’ compensation lawyers get paid through contingency fees, typically a percentage of the benefits awarded to the client. This fee structure allows injured workers to access legal representation without upfront costs. It is important to discuss the fee arrangement, including any out-of-pocket expenses, with your attorney before proceeding with your case. By understanding how lawyers are compensated, individuals can make informed decisions about seeking legal representation for their workers’ compensation claims.