What Does a Workers Comp Lawyer Cost? Who Pays the Lawyer?

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June 12  

How Workers Comp Lawyers Get Paid

I wanted to explain to you what a lot of people worry about when they get hurt at work and they don't really want to call a lawyer. So the question is, how much does a worker's comp lawyer get paid? and how do they get paid?

Here's the way it works. Virtually every injury lawyer gives a free consultation. You can talk to a lawyer, tell them what's going on and they can give you some idea of what's going on and what needs to be done, just with a phone call and that's free. Or you can even come into the office and talk to them for free. That's good, but if you decide to hire them, what do you pay them? 

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The Fee Is Set By Law

In work injury cases or workers comp cases, the lawyer fee for workers comp case is set by law at 20%. So if you ever talk to a workers comp lawyer who wants more than 20%, they're in violation of the law unless there's a real extenuating circumstance. There's two exceptions and I'll talk about them in a while.

Now that doesn't mean in a car crash case the attorneys fee is 40% or a third. In a fall down or on medical malpractice, nursing home, the fees are higher. But because the state of Illinois wants to protect injured workers who they know don't have money coming in if they're hurt at work, the law says that the fee is set at 20%.  Now here's the two exceptions.

The Higher The Amount The Lawyer Beats, The Higher The Percentage

If you had a cash offer to settle your case and then you hire a lawyer, the lawyer can take a higher percentage on the amount he beats the offer by. Let's say somebody offers you $5,000 for your workers comp case and you hire a lawyer, and the lawyer gets $7,000, the lawyer can take more than 20% on the difference between 50 and 70. Because otherwise, if he's not taking a fee on the five and he did a ton of work on the other amount, it's a very very small number and then your problem would be you'd never be able to hire a lawyer if there was already a cash offer on the case.

Colossal Amount Of Work

Then the other exception is, 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. But I will tell you, I've been representing injured people for 20 years and I've never done that. If you sign a contract with me that says 20 percent or some other percent for an amount above the offer amount, I honor that I don't go back and ask for more money. I know some lawyers who do it and in a case where somebody literally does a colossal amount of work I can understand why they might want a little bit more money, but I've never done it.

None Of It Will Come Out Of Your Pocket

That's how it works. It is 20 percent and here's the beauty of it, none of that comes out of your pocket. This is all money that ultimately, the insurance company is paying because it's a percentage of what we win you. You never go in pocket and pay the lawyer out of your pocket. The lawyer gets paid at the end of the case. Only if they win and if the lawyer loses, the lawyer doesn't get paid anything. So that's the nice thing.

There's a tiny risk for you. There's a lot of upside, because being represented in one of these cases really helps your chances at getting everything you're entitled to under the workers comp Act. Hopefully that answers your question.

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About the author - Scott D. DeSalvo

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