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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 are these costs exactly, and how do they normally get paid?

Contingency Arrangement

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 if you lose the case, your lawyer will receive nothing. This is the reason workers’ compensation attorneys are always careful when taking a client in. They need to ensure that it is winnable.

Attorney Fees

How much attorneys may charge for representation depends on state laws or regulations. For instance, in New York, the judge decides how much this fee will be. If your lawyer wins your case, this payment will be taken from the benefits or compensation you receive. 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.). 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

If a lawyer accepts your case on contingency, they will also advance all major costs and expenses that are part of litigation. This is important, considering the high cost of taking a case like this to trial. Your doctor’s deposition alone will cost from $1,000 to $2500 hourly. 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 and will therefore be paid.

Free First 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.

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