What are the Fees in a Workers Compensation Case?
Hi everybody this is Mike Molloy and i'm the managing attorney at Marcotte Law Firm. Today i wanted to talk a little bit about one of the questions that many injured workers who are pursuing a workers comp claim have. How does my lawyer get paid? The reason why they have that question is because they're hurt at work, and that means that they're not able to get a paycheck every week. Just because you're hurt doesn't mean your bills stop. You still have to pay your rent or your mortgage and you still have to put groceries on the table. You don't necessarily have extra money to pay for a lawyer. That's why the system was set up where there's no out-of-pocket costs. Injured workers and the insurance companies on the other side are both able to hire competent and experienced lawyers to make the playing field even.
There are really two ways a lawyer will get paid in a workers compensation claim. The first is if you end up going to the Department of Industrial Accidents. This happens when either you're making a claim after an insurance company denies your case or if the insurance company is trying to terminate your benefits and they go to the Department of Industrial Accidents to do it. In that case, anytime you win and the judge finds in your favor, the judge will also order the insurance company to pay your lawyers fees.
That's for everything after what's called a conciliation. The conciliation is just so informal there are no fees awarded. After that, whether it's a conference or a hearing or if you go to the appeals council or anything like that, the insurance company will be responsible for paying your fees if you win. If you lose, you're not going to be responsible for paying your lawyer. Nobody gets paid.
The only other thing is how much you get paid is set by the statute. There's no arguing about that.
The other way you get your attorney paid is in what's called a lump sum settlement. This is when the insurance company agrees to pay you a certain amount and then they don't have to pay you weekly benefits anymore. Your attorneys would get a fee of either 15% or 20% out of that. That will depend on whether your case is an accepted case or an unaccepted case.
If your case is accepted, that means the insurance company is going to continue to pay your medical bills and any vocational rehab benefits for some job training down the road. If that's the case then the insurance then you'll have to pay your attorney 20% of whatever you get.
On the other hand, if it's an unaccepted case and that means the insurance company is not going to agree to pay for any medical bills, and they're not going to agree to pay for any vocational rehab or anything like that. You'll have to pay 15% of any settlement to your lawyer.
Above either the 15% or 20%, there are also sometimes costs associated with those claims. You'd have to pay those out of pocket expenses unless you go to the DIA and if the judge awards fees like i said before. Then the judge will also order the insurance company to pay your lawyers costs, which sometimes can be pretty substantial if you have to hire experts like doctors and stuff like that.
The main takeaway from this is that if you're worried about having having to pay for a lawyer after you've been hurt and you're looking to make a workers comp claim, you shouldn't be worried. There are going to be no out of pocket costs. You're most likely never gonna have to owe your lawyer any money and there's really nothing to lose by hiring a lawyer.
It's also important to hire a lawyer right away whether it's us or anybody else. You might be getting your benefits now, but the insurance company is doing everything it can to find a way to stop paying your benefits. If you have a lawyer now, if that does happen you're going to be better able to get your benefits put back on as quickly as possible so you don't have to wait around not being able to work and not collecting any money from workers comp.
If you have any questions on how your lawyer gets paid or any fee questions on a workers comp case or any questions about workers comp at all, feel free to contact me or any of the lawyers at Marcotte Law Firm, and we'd be happy to talk to you and answer all your questions. Other than that thanks for watching and i hope you enjoyed.