What is the cost of a workers compensation lawyer? Well, my office tries first to educate injured workers so they can help themselves.
How the Injured Workers Law Firm Operates
My office talks to a lot of folks every day, even people that are not “officially” clients. We do this because we are ADVOCATES FOR INJURED WORKERS, not just a lawyer’s office. So, we offer free information and guidance for ALL INJURED WORKERS!
How do we do this?
A lot of injured workers who call the office want to know what the cost of a workers compensation lawyer is and how the lawyers at Injured Workers Law Firm get paid. The answer is simple. If we are able to help folks and guide them as much as possible without charging them, we are helping people in our community and building the trust that is so important to the attorney/client relationship. So, when or if there comes a time that the injured worker does need to hire an attorney, they will likely come to us because we have already helped them with this process and we know their situation! It’s a win-win!
If there is an issue that would require the assistance of a lawyer, attorney fees for workers compensation can be a bit confusing. Let’s break it down a bit:
Any time our office represents a client, there are some expenses our office incurs in order to properly represent them and build their case. These charges are typically going be paying for medical records that we request, copies, and postage. My office will ALWAYS do as much as we can electronically in order to limit the expense for our clients, as I know this is a big concern for many injured workers. This is something all clients are responsible for at the end of their case. This is not an attorney fee, however, it is just the cost of doing business.
Going to court
When there is an issue that needs to be litigated before the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission (VWC), the Commission will set the fee for the lawyer’s court appearance. Many times it is 20% of back wage benefits. This can typically range anywhere from $800.00-$1,200.00 (don’t freak out – I know this is a lot of money!). Because I understand the financial strain this system can put on injured workers, Injured Workers Law Firm will ask the court for it to be paid out of any back due benefits or to pay the attorney fee at a rate of $25 a week out of weekly benefits so the injured worker does not have to pay this large sum up front.
If my office helps an injured worker to get an Award to protect their benefits, the Commission MAY set an attorney fee for this. I NEVER request a fee for this but the Commission may enter a fee for this which could be between $200 -$500. Again, I would ask that it be paid out of an injured worker’s weekly check at a rate of $25 a week or so to lessen the financial hardships that I know our clients are facing.
If my office helps an injured worker to settle their claim, our fee is 20% of the settlement, plus reimbursement of any expenses incurred in the preparation of the case for settlement (see item 1).
If my office assists an injured worker to obtain an Award for an impairment rating (or Permanent Partial Disability), the Commission will award an attorney fee of 15% of the Award.
Potentially, the lawyer could get paid all of these ways or not at all. We would not get paid at all if we were attempting to settle your workers’ compensation claim and the insurance company refused to settle for a fair price. There are many different situations and I know this can be confusing, so if you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact my staff and they can help you to better understand these fees and which ones may or may not apply to you.
The Injured Workers Law Firm is focused on serving clients with workers’ compensation claims throughout Virginia. For answers to your questions about benefits download our book, The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia or call our office today (804) 755-7755. The Injured Workers’ Law Firm serves Fredericksburg, Virginia Beach, Manassas, Charlottesville, Fairfax, Hampton Roads and all of Virginia.
Workers Compensation Attorney Fees
If you are like many people, you may believe that hiring a Richmond Workers’ Compensation attorney to represent you in your work injury claim will cost a lot of money. However, many lawyers work on a contingency fee arrangement, which means the only way they get paid is if your claim is successful. Inquiring about a Workers’ Comp attorney’s qualifications and fee schedule is often helpful when considering representation.
The percentage of the benefits your attorney will receive varies not only by attorney, but also by jurisdiction. Most states place a cap on the percentage that an attorney can collect from the benefits that a client is awarded in a claim. In some states, your attorney may be paid by your employer’s Workers’ Comp insurance policy.
When you talk to potential attorneys, ask about their fees upfront to better understand how the process works. It is also a good idea to meet with more than one attorney so you can compare fees and the attorneys’ credentials.
How a Workers’ Comp Attorney Can Help
Your attorney can help you get the maximum value out of your Workers’ Comp claim. Some of the things your attorney may do include the following:
- explain the specifics of your Workers’ Comp claim;
- gather evidence such as medical records and personnel files;
- look for third-party liability claims;
- prepare you and any witnesses for a hearing;
- take depositions;
- organize medical exhibits;
- advise you throughout your case on issues such as insurance adjusters and vocational rehabilitation; and
- assist with getting prescriptions filled, mileage paid and cost of living adjustments.
When a Lawyer Should Be Consulted in a Workers’ Compensation Injury
The ideal time to talk to an attorney in a Virginia Worker’s Compensation case would be before that recorded statement, but a lot of times, people don’t think of workers’ compensation because they think it is like regular health insurance, they don’t think of it as an adversarial thing and that someone is going to try to trick them in their recorded statement because sometimes, you’re pretty much stuck with that, so the ideal time would be before that recorded statement.
If you are injured on your job, it is often necessary to consult a lawyer. This is especially the case if you have a severe injury or has resulted in a permanent impairment. Call a lawyer if the following happens:
- If you did your own hearing and lost, you need to consult a lawyer regarding an appeal but give your lawyer ample time before your hearing to do the due diligence.
- If you have suffered a number of injuries in your accident and the claims adjuster sends you an agreement form that does not cover all your injuries, you need to consult a lawyer.
- If your claim is denied by the claims adjuster, you need to consult a lawyer.
- If the claims adjuster has filed a request for a hearing with the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission, then you need to consult a lawyer. This is a big red flag
- If you given interrogatories, then you need to consult a lawyer.
- If you get a settlement, you need to consult a lawyer.
- If the claims adjuster calls you and wants to take a recorded statement, you should consult a lawyer.
- If you are being video taped by a private detective, you need to consult a lawyer. When your injury is serious enough that it requires you to be out of work for an extended period of time, you almost certainly will be under surveillance by a private detective who will probably follow you around taking video footage of your activities. Because of the strong likelihood of being followed, you should assume that you are being followed and act accordingly.
- If the claims adjuster refuses payment of a medical bill you incurred as a result of your accident, then you need to consult an lawyer.
- If the claims adjuster refuses to authorize reasonable and necessary medical treatment, then it may be necessary to consult a lawyer.
About the Author: Michele Lewane
The Injured Workers Law Firm is a Richmond, Virginia based firm solely focused on serving clients with workers' compensation claims in Virginia. If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” , or call our office today (804) 755-7755.