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Workers Compensation Attorney Fees
Workers compensation law protects injured workers and their families by ensuring that medical care and compensation for other losses are provided. It's never a bad idea for an injured employee to consult briefly with a workers compensation lawyer. Legal representation may be required for those who suffer a severe workplace injury. Continue reading to find out more about hiring a workers comp attorney, including how much it will cost.
When to Hire a Workers Compensation Attorney
Despite the fact that workers compensation is a government mandated program, occasions arise when injured employees don't receive the benefits they are entitled to. If your claim has been denied, or if any of the following circumstances apply to your situation, it's advisable to consult with an attorney:
- You are severely injured or disabled
- You are fired, or your position is terminated, following your injury
- A return to work is not possible
- You are being pressured by your employer or a claims adjuster to settle the case
- Your pre-injury wages were high
- The status of your employment (i.e. whether you are an employee, an independent contractor, or employed by a subcontractor) is in question
- You feel that the workers compensation claim is bringing discrimination upon you
- It's possible that a third party (that is, not your employer) is responsible for your injury
An inherent feature of workers compensation benefits is that employees give up the right to file personal injury lawsuits against employers. The following two situations, however, could be cause for a lawsuit:
- An employer who legally should provide workers compensation benefits does not
- An employer intentionally injures an employee
How Workers Compensation Lawyers Can Help
Once you retain the services of a workers comp attorney, they can provide assistance in a number of ways, including:
- Providing advice and guidance through the claims process
- Seeing to it that you receive adequate medical treatment
- Ensuring that while you are paid the legally promised (typically 2/3 of your weekly wage) workers compensation rate while you remain out of work
- Analyzing your case and gathering evidence to use against an employer
- Maximizing the amount of workers compensation settlements
Workers Compensation Lawyer Average Costs
When discussing workers compensation attorney fees, it is important to understand a couple of things. First and foremost, a workers compensation claim is different than other types of injury claims because they are almost always governed by state law. Secondly, workman's comp lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that the amount of money you pay them is based on a percentage—typically 10% to 25%—of what they recover on your behalf.
So if, for example, a lawyer recovers $5,000 for you and charges a contingency fee of 20 percent, you would owe $1,000 ($5,000 x .20) in worker compensation lawyer fees.
The actual contingency fee that you pay a workers compensation lawyer is limited by state laws. Furthermore, routine benefits like medical payments and checks for lost wages are typically not subject to the contingency fee. If, however, a lawyer fights on your behalf to have these benefits reinstated, they will be eligible to recover a fee. The same is true when a lawyer reaches a settlement with an insurer.
To summarize, workers compensation lawyer costs depend on the state in which you live, but generally fall between 10% to 25% of what an attorney recovers for you. When you contact a local lawyer, he or she can provide a detailed fee schedule.