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How Are Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Paid?

If your work-related injury or illness is significant, you need a long time to recover, you cannot go back to work, or you are impaired permanently, hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer will be well worth the costs entailed. But what particular costs are these, and how are they paid?

Contingency Fees

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 other words, you only pay the attorney once you have received your benefits. And if you lose the case, your lawyer will receive nothing. This is why workers’ compensation lawyers are always careful when accepting a case. 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 instance, in New York, the judge decides how much this fee will be. If you win your case, this amount will be taken from the compensation you get. Otherwise, you will not pay the lawyer for their professional services, but you may have to cover certain charges that are part of the representation (doc stamps, filing fees, etc.). It is important you discuss these things with your potential attorney before moving forward.

On the other hand, in Texas, your lawyer is paid by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer out from the income benefits you get. Attorney fees should first have the approval of the Division of Workers’ compensation , and will be based on the lawyer’s time and expenses. Once approval has been given, the insurer will receive an order from the Division to take that money – up to 25% – from the compensation you receive.

Advancing Payment

A lawyer who accepts your case on contingency will also typically cover substantial costs involved in litigation. This is crucial, considering how expensive it is to prep a case like this for trial. Your doctor’s deposition alone will not go below a thousand dollars per hour. Sometimes, your lawyer may even need to hire a vocational expert to conduct a labor market research and perform “transferable skills analysis.” This expert is going to testify in your case will be paid for their time.

Free First Consultation

Workers’ compensation lawyers typically charge zero for an initial 30-minute consultation. This is the time when you explain your case and the attorney decides whether or not you do need their services. If you come to an agreement that you need legal representation, the lawyer will explain to you their fees and how they expect payment to come through.

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