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How Much Will A Workers Comp Attorney Charge Me?

How Much Will A Workers Comp Attorney Charge Me?

A workers compensation attorney is paid similarly to how personal injury lawyers collect their fees. Attorney fees are on a contingency basis and are dependent upon what you receive in a settlement or verdict.

Personal injury fees

Personal injury lawyers are free to charge whatever percentage of the compensation that is awarded. Most will charge you one-third of any settlement, but usually increase the percentage to 40 percent or higher if the case is particularly difficult or it does not settle before litigation.

If a minor is a plaintiff, however, most states limit an attorney's fee to 25 percent of whatever is recovered, regardless if the case is settled prior to litigation or not.

Workers compensation fees

A workers compensation attorney's fees are limited by that state's statute as to what he or she can recover from a settlement or award. The range is vast, from 9 percent to as high as 25 percent in some states. Most jurisdictions allow an attorney to collect 20 percent. In difficult cases, an attorney can request that the judge award him or her a higher percentage.

If the injured worker does not collect any benefits, he or she will pay no fee.

How does the attorney collect the fee?

A workers compensation lawyer's fee is approved by the judge, along with any costs. The workers compensation insurer will generally set aside the statutory fee out of the settlement, but the judge must approve of the fees and costs claimed.

For certain benefits, such as PTD, or permanent total disability, the attorney is paid up to a certain maximum amount set by statute. Otherwise, the attorney can claim his statutory percentage out of the benefits received once the insurer agrees to pay the disputed amount or the worker prevails at a hearing.

Many attorneys will not take fees from benefits that are undisputed by the insurer, such as from TTD, or temporary total benefits.

An injured worker who retains a workers compensation attorney should carefully review the Retainer Fee Agreement with the attorney. The Retainer Fee Agreement must also be approved by that state's workers compensation department.