The insurance company hasn’t exactly been easy to work with…
…but is it worth it to pay workers’ comp lawyer fees?
You’ve been injured in a workplace injury and the insurance company has been playing hardball. One of your co-workers suggests hiring a lawyer to help you get the benefits you’re entitled to.
But wait a minute…can you afford workers’ comp lawyer fees? And are they really worth it?
Yes and yes!
Sound too good to be true? Read on to see how workers’ comp lawyer fees actually work.
How Workers’ Comp Lawyer Fees Work
Like many other types of attorneys, workers’ compensation lawyers work off of a contingency fee. This means that they only get paid after one of two outcomes: successful litigation or settlement.
Workers’ comp lawyer fees will be different depending on how your case is resolved.
If you and your attorney decide to take the insurance company to court, the first step is to file a Petition for Benefits (PFB).
A PFB contains a list of all of the benefits you are requesting from the insurance company—things such as lost wages, reimbursement for medical treatment, and workers’ comp lawyer fees.
If the PFB is successful—that is, if the insurance company agrees to our demands after 30 days of receiving it, or if the case ends up going before a judge of compensation claims, who rules in your favor—it is the insurance company that will pay those legal fees.
When litigation is successful, our fee is typically charged hourly. Thus, if we spent 20 hours to secure your benefits and a judge of compensation claims determined that an appropriate hourly rate is $250, we would collect $5,000 ($250/hour x 20 = $5000).
In these cases, we will also recover any additional costs that were necessarily incurred to secure those benefits (things like postage, mileage, etc.).
Most of the time, however, workers’ comp cases are resolved via a settlement.
When a case is resolved via settlement, your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company for an amount that you believe is fair compensation for the likely ongoing cost for future medical treatment, future lost wages, and resolution of any of the outstanding issues in your case.
(To read more about the pros and cons of settling your workers’ comp case, click here.)
After both parties agree on a settlement amount, your workers’ comp lawyer fees will be 25% of the total amount. So, if your case settles for $10,000, your lawyer’s fee for handling the workers’ compensation case would be $2,500.
It is worth noting that your settlement will be reviewed by a judge of compensation claims to ensure that the attorney’s fees and costs being paid to your lawyer are reasonable.
If a case settles, clients also have to reimburse our firm for the costs we incurred handling their case which include things such as: investigative services; transcription services/court reporter costs; witness fees; courier services; expert witness fees; mileage, parking and tolls; translation and/or interpreter charges; filing fees; outside copying expenses; postage (other than regular mail); and all other necessary costs incurred in the provision of the legal services.
Note that you will never have to write a check to our law firm. All workers’ comp lawyer fees come out of the settlement amount.
In the past, you may have heard that Florida workers’ comp lawyer fees are charged according to a guideline.
Florida Statute 440.34 does state that workers’ comp legal fees should be 20% of the first $5,000 of the benefits secured, 15% of the next $5,000, and 5-10% of the remaining amount (depending on how long it took to secure benefits). This fee structure however, was deemed unconstitutional in 2016.
In fact, most workers’ comp attorneys (including us) charge a flat rate between 25-33% for settling your workers’ compensation claim.
Is It Worth It To Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer?
If your lawyer is going to take 25% of your settlement, is it still worth it to hire a lawyer?
In our honest opinion: YES!
In fact, a recent survey found that people received an average of 30% more if they hired an attorney.
But the benefits go far beyond the financial. Attorneys also provide invaluable guidance and assistance with the more difficult aspects of a workers’ comp claim.
Navigating your medical appointments, bills, job duties (if you’ve been cleared to return to work), and family obligations is difficult enough without also finding the time and energy to fight the insurance company for your rights.
Friends don’t let friends take on insurance companies alone.
You Have Nothing To Lose
The decision of whether or not to hire a workers’ comp lawyer can be a difficult one. After all, how can you know whether you even have a case, much less how much you can expect to receive?
Well, there’s an easy way to help you decide: schedule a consultation.
At the Law Office of Brian D. Tadros, consultations are always free, so you have nothing to lose! If you’re unsure of whether legal representation is necessary, we can give you the information needed to make an educated decision.
And remember, because we work on a contingency fee, we carry all of the risk.
Nobody—not even your attorney—can predict how a case will be resolved. If the insurance company never steps out of line or neither party can agree to settle, your lawyer will not get paid. That is a risk for us, but one that we are willing to take to secure benefits for our clients.
Workers’ comp cases can be long, confusing, and overwhelming, especially when you’re already dealing with a serious injury. You shouldn’t have to navigate them on your own! Workers’ comp lawyer fees are a small price to pay for benefit of an easier case (and bigger settlement amounts)!