Attorneys – Getting Started & Next Steps

How Are Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Paid?

If you had a significant work-related injury or illness that needs you to stop working, your recovery period is lengthy, or you are permanently impaired, a workers’ compensation lawyer’s services will be worth every penny involved. But what particular costs are these, and how are they paid?

Hired on Contingency

Typically, compensation lawyers enter a contingency arrangement with their clients, which means they receive a certain percentage of the money that will be awarded to the claimant if the case is won. In short, there will be no payment to be made until you have received your benefits. And should your case be unsuccessful, your lawyer will not be paid. This is why workers’ compensation attorneys are very thorough when assessing a case and deciding to take it. They need to ensure that it is winnable.

Attorney Fees

How much money a lawyer can get for representing you is different according to state, and is often covered by state laws or regulations. For example, in New York, it is the judge who sets this fee. If you win your case, this amount will be taken from the compensation you get. Otherwise, you don’t pay the attorney anything, although may still have to cover miscellaneous charges, like copy costs, doc stamps, etc. You have to talk to your potential lawyer about these things, making sure all is clear before you move forward.

In Texas, on the other hand, it is your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company that will be paying your lawyer out of your income benefits. The Division of Workers’ compensation first approves the fees which are based on the lawyer’s time and expenses. Once the fee is approved, the insurer will be ordered by the Division to deduct that amount – a maximum of 25% – from your compensation .

Advancing Payment

A lawyer who accepts your case on contingency will also typically cover substantial costs involved in litigation. This is important, considering the high cost of taking a case like this to trial. Your doctor’s deposition alone will not go below a thousand dollars per hour. Your lawyer might also have to hire a vocational expert to do a “transferable skills analysis” and labor market survey. This expert will be giving a testimony to help your case and should be paid.

Free First Consultation

Workers’ compensation lawyers usually offer free initial consultation, which lasts for about 30 minutes. This is when you discuss your situation to them, and they will weigh whether or not their services will be necessary. If you agree that you need legal representation, the lawyer will give you a rundown of their fees and the payment process.

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