Last Updated: March 27, 2021

What Does A Workers Comp Lawyer Cost? Who Pays The Lawyer?

What Does A Workers Comp Lawyer Cost? Hurt at Work, Now What? A Workers Comp Lawyer Cost You Nothing Until They Win Your Case For You.

If you have gotten hurt at work, one of the first things on your mind may be, do I hire a lawyer?

A Workers Comp Lawyer is a lawyer who helps people who have been injured at work.  Workers Compensation law is a special area of injury law with different rules and procedures than other kinds of injury cases.  As a result, you will want an attorney with experience with work injury and your State's Workers Compensation Law.  What Does a Workers Comp lawyer cost?  Nothing, until they win your case. Then, in Illinois, they usually get a statutory fee of 20% piad out of what they win for you.

Then, if you hire a lawyer, how much is it going to cost you and WHO exactly is going to PAY them?

Here’s what you do– CALL A LAWYER for a FREE CONSULTATION. Virtually every injury lawyer gives a free consultation. Talk to a lawyer, tell them what’s going on, and they can give you some idea of what needs to be done just with a FREE phone call in your work injury case.

Or you can even come into the office and talk to them for free, so that’s good.

When a Lawyer Isn’t Necessary

If you suffer a minor injury, sometimes it is okay to go it alone without the advice of workers compensation lawyers.  If you got paid while off work, all of your medical bills got paid, and they offered you money you are happy with, then it is up to you whether you talk to someone about your case.  I always advise people to do so, however, because theree are often wrinkles and details which can add a lot of value.  You will not know this tuff unless you work in the injury law business.

Insurance companies are unlikely to dispute claims if:

  • there is no doubt they are work-related
  • do not need extensive medical treatment
  • don’t involve any time off work (or very little), and
  • there does not appear to be any permanent injuries.

For example, suppose you hurt your back as a result of a fall at work. Your doctor ordered you to rest, take pain relievers, and use ice and a heating pad at home. If you work a desk job, and you returned to work right away and your back got better in a few weeks.  In this case, your trip to the doctor would be covered.  There may not be a dispute or a problem.  

In a situation like this, you can call a lawyer for a free consultation, up to you.  Better safe than sorry, but probably not a big deal if you do not speak with workmans comp attorneys.

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When a Lawyer Is Typically Necessary

If your case is 'disputed' then you definitely should get a consultation at a minimum with workers comp lawyers. And you should probably consider hiring a lawyer to represent you. 

Any time a Workers Comp insurance company denies benefits or payments, a case is considered 'disputed'.  Even if the company starts hassling you about being off work or your medical care, it is likely that you case is about to become denied or disputed.

You need evidence and help in order to challenge the insurance company’s denial of workers comp benefits.  This includes taking depositions, reviewing medical records, possibly requesting an independent medical examination, and finding an expert witness if your treating doctorr isn't supporting your case. This all requires legal acumen that only a workmans comp lawyer is likely to posses.

Here is a partial list of situations where you are definitely going to want to hire a Workers Comp lawyer:

Your claim is disputed or denied. Insurance companies deny workers’ compensation claims for lots of excuses.  I sayys "excuses" because they are often made up or not legitimate. For example, the insurance company might claim that you wereren't 'on the clock' when your accident happened, or that you missed a filing deadline in Workers Comp cases.  (Check out my video where I explain Workers Comp deadlines.)

Workers Comp Lawyer

Your permanent disability rating is disputed. At the end of a Workers Comp case, when you have recovered as much as you can, the Judge at the Workers Compensation Commision decides how much permanent change has been done to your body due to the work injury and the treatment you had.  This can include pain, loss of use of a bosy part, and even scars.  it is called PPD.  It stands for Permanet Partial Disability, and it is an amoutn of money you get at the end of the case.  Generally speaking, the bigger the injury, the more you get.  Doctors' testimony and what is in the medical records is what drives the amoutnb of PPD you will get.  You will want to wqork with Workers Compensation lawyers who know how to do a doctors deposition to get favorable testimony and to minimize negative evidence.  Without it, your case could be in real trouble.

You can't see a doctor for the treatment you need because the company will not pre-approve it. Only in a Workers Comp case in Illinois do treating doctors get paid 'as they go'.  For example, in a car accident injury case, the doctors either bill medical insurance or they must wait tuntil the end of the case for their bills to be paid.  But in Workers Comp, if a case is not 'disputed' (it is accepted), the doctors get timely payment.  Many doctors will not continue to treat the injured workers without a guarantee of payment.  That's when hiring a Workers Comp lawyer is a great idea.

Your cannot return to the same job duties. If you can't go back to your old job, or worse, you are deemed fully disabled by the doctors, there are many ways insurance companies and employers can get rid of you can cut off the benefits you are owed.  That's why I tell everyone that in small cases, a lawyer can help, but in larger ones, the servies of workmans comp attorneys is essential.

There is a hearing in front of the Arbitrator or the Commission. If the other side has noticed a Motion or other hearing at the Workers Comp Commsssion, you do not want to do there by yourself. There is a lot fo technical procedure and things that you will not get right.  Ther Judge may take some mercy on you, but on the other hand, they are required to fdollow the law and the legal procedure.  Not having a workers comp lawyer can mean not getting your bills paid.

Do I Need A Lawyer For Workmans Comp?

Going it alone in a work injury case might seem like a good idea at first.  Maybe someone you know even told you that they did fine and got a good settlement in their Workers Comp case and they didn't use a lawyer.

But using is lawyer is good for several reasons.  Here are a few:

  • The procedures in Workers Comp is complicated and hard to figure out.
  • The Workers Comp insurance can initially pay your benefits, and then, after they have put you in a bad position, they can cut off your benefits. They can do it for any excuse and get away with it if you do not have a lawyer.
  • A Workers Comp lawyer will know all of the benefits your are entitled to get after a work injury.  That includes being paid for time off, medical care, a lump sum settlement, as well as therapy and job training.  Workers Comp offers a lot of benefits most people do not know about.
  • Your doctor will feel more secure if you have a lawyer to make sure your bills are paid so your medical care is uninterrupted.
  • A lawyer can make sure you keep getting paid so you have less stress and you can pay your bills.
  • A lawyer is a call or email away to answer any questions you have.

If you sense any change in attitude at work, then it is a good idea to speak with a Workers Compensation lawyer.  They offer free consultations, and you only hire the lawyer if you like him or her.

When Should I Get A Lawyer For Workers Comp?

The sooner you consult with a lawyer after being hurt at work, the better it is for you.  There are a million little details which can add up to either make your case strong or cause you problems when it is time to settle the case.

Here are just a few.  Without a lawyer, you will struggle alone with them.  With a lawyer, you will have confidence and some direction.

  • Should I treat with the Company doctor?
  • Does my doctor have a good reputation at the Workers Compensation Commission?
  • Do I have to go back to work if the Company doctor says so?
  • What if I cannot do my job duties because of my injuries?
  • What if my doctor cuts off my treatment before I am healed?
  • What if I need surgery but am noit sure I want it?
  • What if they aren't paying me or are underpaying me for time off work?
  • What do I need to make sure I get paid my pay after a work injury?
  • How long does a Workers Comp case take?

With a lawyer, you are covered.  The lawyer will order all of your medical records and bills and will handle all of the procedures.  You will never have to talk to the insurance company.  

And if there are any problems with benefits or pay or any conflict, your lawyer will handle it.  If you got hurt at work, you should focus on resting a healing.  That's hard to do if you are worried about all of this stuff.

That's really the best reason to hire a lawyer for your on the job injury.

Is It Worth It To Pay A Lawyer?

Workers Comp lawyers DO NOT get paid by the hour. Instead, they get paid a percentage of what they win for you.  This is only if they do win your case.  If they cannot get you money, you owe them no attorney fees at all.   You never pay 'out of pocket'.

So the answer to "What Does A Workers Comp Lawyer Cost" is nothing unless and until they win your case.  Nothing out of pocket.

In Illinois, the statutory fee found in the Workers Compensation Act is set at 20%.  There are a few exceptions to that, but in the vast majority of cases, 20% is the percentage.  Uusually, if the lawyer wants more, he has to go before the Commission and justify why he deserves more, and they do not give increased lawyer fees very often.  Most lawyer do not even ask for increased fees.  I have never done soin my entire career.

The other thing to consider:  there is no question that being represented by a lawyer means a higher settlement for you.  It also means far less hassle and headaches for you, as your workers comp lawyer will take care of all the case details for you.  No stressign out about going to Court or how things work.

Paying Your Lawyer

Now that you have decided to hire a lawyer, how do you pay them?

Well, in worker’s comp cases, the lawyer fee in Illinois is set by law at 20%. If a lawyer ever tries to charge more, unless there are severe extenuating circumstances, they’re in violation of the law.

Exceptions to the rule. Two exceptions of this 20% law involve cash offers and court petitions.

Here are some examples of how these exceptions may play out:

Exception 1: If you had a CASH OFFER to SETTLE your case, and then you hire a lawyer and he beats that original offer, he can take a higher percentage on the amount he beats it by.

For example, Let’s say somebody offers you $5000 for your workers’ comp case. Then, you hire a lawyer and the lawyer gets $7000. The lawyer can take more than 20% on the difference between $5000 and $7000, because more than likely he did a ton of work to get that increase.

Exception 2: They say that HARD WORK PAYS OFF and this exception involves just that.

If an attorney really goes above and beyond, tries the case, all that stuff, he can petition the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and ask for more attorneys’ fees.

In 20 years of representing injured people, I’ve never done that. If you sign a contract with me that says 20%, or some other percent for an amount above the offer amount, I HONOR THAT. I don’t go back and ask for more money even though I know some lawyers that do.  It is rare, however.

Where Does the Money Come From?

Here’s the beauty of it, NONE of these fees and commissions come out of your pocket!

So "What Does A Workers Comp Lawyer Cost?"  Nothing unless they win your case and nothing out of your pocket.

Ultimately, the insurance company is paying the lawyer a percentage of what the lawyer wins for you. IF THEY DON’T WIN, THEY DON’T GET PAID. It’s that simple!

Very little risk for you if the case is lost but a lot to gain if you are well represented and win!

Let’s talk about how to improve your chances of getting everything you’re entitled to under the Workers’ Comp Act.

Need To Talk To A Workers Comp Lawyer?

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Here's how it works:

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Not ready to talk to a lawyer?  Check out more info on Workers Comp cases and how they work here.

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Scott DeSalvo, Injury Lawyer - 312-500-4500


I've been helping injured people just like you for my entire 20+ year career in all kinds of injury cases, and I can probably help you, too. You can call me 24/7/365, any time, day or night, to get a free copy of the Injury "Cheat Sheet" which gives you the Five Secrets to winning your injury case. 100% free & no obligation. Or, you can call and ask for a FREE case strategy session where I will answer all of your questions, 100% for free and no obligation. Call 312-500-4500. I look forward to hearing from you!

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