Unlike other areas of law, attorneys’ fees in workers’ compensation cases are set by law. If an injured worker is awarded temporary total disability (“TTD”) by the Workers’ Compensation Commission after a contested hearing, the attorney gets 10%. However, if TTD is paid uncontested without the need for a hearing, which is not unusual, the lawyer gets $0. In other words, a lawyer only gets paid out of an injured worker’s TTD benefits if the employer/insurer refuses to pay the benefits, the lawyer takes the case to the Commission for his or her client, and wins.
Besides TTD, the other main type of comp benefit is permanent partial disability (“PPD”). This is the compensation that you get at the end of a case, and for which the attorney is entitled to 20%.
These figures, (10% contested TTD & 20% PPD), are significantly less than attorneys’ fees in other types of personal injury or civil cases, where a lawyer’s going rate is typically between 30%-40%. In that sense, a workers’ compensation lawyer is really quite a bargain.
Lastly, it is also important to note that all fees in comp cases are on a “contingent” basis. In other words, the lawyer doesn’t get paid unless you get paid.