If your work injury or illness requires you to take time away from your job, you need a long time to get better, or your impairment is permanent, having a workers’ compensation attorney is money well-spent. But what costs are we looking at, and how exactly are they paid?
Hired on Contingency
Usually, compensation lawyers are paid on contingency basis, which means you will give them a certain portion of any received compensation or benefits if your case is successful. In other words, you only pay the attorney once you have received your benefits. And should your case be unsuccessful, your lawyer will not be paid. This is why workers’ compensation lawyers are always careful when accepting a case. It has to be winnable above anything else.
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 your lawyer wins your case, this payment will be taken from the benefits or compensation you receive. Otherwise, you don’t pay the attorney anything, although may still have to cover miscellaneous charges, like copy costs, doc stamps, etc. It is a must that you discuss these things with your prospective attorney before proceeding.
On the other hand, in Texas, your lawyer is paid by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer out from the income benefits you get. The Division of Workers’ compensation first approves the fees which are based on the lawyer’s time and expenses. After approval, the Division will instruct the insurer to remove the fee – up to 25% – from your compensation .
A lawyer who accepts your case on contingency will also typically cover substantial costs involved in litigation. This is important because it can be expensive to prepare this type of case for trial. Alone, your physician’s deposition will cost at least $1000 per hour, and that can double or even triple, depending on the doctor. Your attorney may even have to hire a vocational expert who will do a labor market study and “transferable skills analysis.” This expert is going to testify in your case and will therefore be paid.
Free Initial Consultation
Workers’ compensation lawyers often charge nothing for an initial consultation, which normally runs for half an hour. This is when you discuss your situation to them, and they will weigh whether or not their services will be necessary. 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.