Each year, millions of workers are injured on the job in the United States. In the private sector alone, 2.8 million workers were injured in 2019, not counting fatal injuries.
If you were injured on the job, you may be entitled to benefits through a workers’ comp case. But dealing with your employer and their insurance company is never easy, especially when you’re injured.
You might consider hiring a workers’ comp attorney to help you with your case. Affording an attorney is easier than you might think. Keep reading to learn more about how you pay your attorney in a workers’ compensation case.
The Insurance Company Pays Your Lawyer
Let’s get right to it. If you’re wondering how you’re going to pay a lawyer for your workers’ compensation case, we’ve got news for you. You don’t!
Instead, the insurance company pays your lawyer a percentage of your settlement. Nothing comes out of your pocket. Your workers’ compensation attorney’s fees and commissions come out of the settlement your lawyer wins for you.
You never have to pay anything upfront or out of your weekly benefits. A good workers’ compensation lawyer has your best interest at heart and wants what’s best for you. They work on what’s called a contingency basis.
What Are Contingency Fees?
You’ve probably heard this term before related to personal injury law. What contingency fees mean for your case is that if you don’t win, you don’t owe your lawyer anything.
This might sound too good to be true, but it actually makes a lot of sense.
Contingency fees guarantee your attorney will work their hardest on your case. After all, their paycheck depends on their success. The more money they win for you, the more they get paid as a percentage of the settlement.
This system also motivates attorneys to take the cases they know they can win. There’s no risk for you in pursuing your case. This is why the best attorneys offer a free consultation.
A workers comp attorney worth your time will offer a free consultation and case evaluation.
During this meeting, they will evaluate your case and give you their opinion of your chances of success. This is also a time to get to know potential attorneys. The right attorney for your case will be open and honest about your case.
Never underestimate the way a workers’ compensation attorney makes you feel. Your attorney should make you feel heard and understood. You want to make sure the attorney you choose is prepared to fight for your rights and take your case to trial if need be.
This meeting is an opportunity for you to learn more about the costs involved with your claim or lawsuit. Be sure to ask potential attorneys about their fee structure. Never choose an attorney who charges you upfront.
Take this time to ask questions about what you can expect from the lawyer and their firm throughout the legal process. The state you live in determines how much a workers comp attorney is allowed to charge for their services.
Louisiana Workers’ Comp Cases
In the State of Louisiana, the attorney’s fees in a workers’ comp case have to be approved by a workers’ comp judge. These fees are only payable from the amount that you are awarded by the insurance company. The judge will also determine how the fees are paid.
The maximum amount a workers’ comp attorney can be paid is 20% of the award. However, this is not a minimum, and judges are not guaranteed to grant this amount to your attorney.
When your case is concluded, your attorney will submit their fee for approval by the workers’ comp agency and a workers’ comp judge. The judge will take into consideration a number of factors including:
- How complex your case was
- How much time and effort did your attorney put into your case?
- The outcome achieved with the help of your attorney
- The qualifications and skills of your attorney
- Any applicable time restrictions on your case
- The rates usually charged in your area by comparable attorneys
The judge will either accept the attorney’s fees or adjust them as they see fit. Because of the involvement of a judge, you can feel comfortable knowing that your lawyer isn’t taking advantage of you.
Other Legal Costs
Legal costs may be categorized separately from legal fees.
Legal costs include expenses that your attorney incurred to progress your case. Examples include the cost of hiring experts, filing documents, or copying medical records.
In many cases, you will be responsible for paying these costs if you win your case. A good lawyer will agree to deduct these costs from your settlement award rather than making you pay upfront. Many lawyers will waive these costs if you don’t win your case.
Each attorney will set their own fee structure so it’s important to discuss these costs with your attorney before signing any documents.
Do You Need Help with a Workers’ Comp Case?
If you were injured in an accident at work, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ comp cases are uniquely challenging because of the system built by employers and insurance companies that is designed to withhold your benefits.
If you think you might have a workers’ comp case, you need to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Workers’ comp cases are often time-sensitive.
Protect your rights to compensation by scheduling a free consultation with a workers’ comp attorney today.