How Do Workers Compensation Attorneys Get Paid?

gavel with money

If you suffered injuries in a workplace accident or contracted an illness due to your job, you can most likely apply to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Most employers in Indiana must provide workers’ compensation to their employees. These no-fault benefits help to cover your medical expenses and provide up to two-thirds of your weekly salary while you recover.

However, obtaining workers’ compensation benefits is not without its challenges. You must provide ample documentation and evidence to support your claim, and you must file within certain deadlines and make sure you follow all the rules and requirements for submitting your claim.

What’s more, many employees receive denials of their workers’ compensation claims or have disputes involving their benefits with their employer’s insurance carrier.

Whether you are filing for workers’ comp benefits for the first time or need to dispute a denied claim, you stand a much better chance of getting positive results if you work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Indiana.

You may have thought about getting an attorney for help, but you have concerns about how much a lawyer will cost and how workers’ compensation attorneys get paid. The following article will hopefully answer your questions and provide insight into how you can get an attorney to help you get the workers’ compensation benefits you need.

Indiana Workers’ Compensation Law Restricts Attorney Fees

Workers’ compensation attorneys in Indiana get paid a lot less than other types of attorneys. Indiana law regulates workers’ compensation attorney fees and restricts the percentage amount attorneys can take for payment. The law states lawyers may take 20% of any recovery up to $50,000 and 15% of any recovery above $50,000.  For example, if your case settles for $80,000, the attorney will get 20% of the first $50,000, or $10,000.00. They would then get 15% of the remaining balance of $30,000, which would be $4,500.  The total attorney fee would be $14,500 which amounts to about 18%.

Payment Is Contingent on Winning the Case

Attorneys who handle Indiana workers’ compensation cases do not get paid unless there is a recovery. Therefore, injured workers who pursue their claim with the help of a workers’ compensation attorney have no financial risk.

The Upfront Costs of Pursuing a Workers’ Compensation Case

Attorneys usually advance the funds necessary to pursue a workers’ compensation case. Occasionally, attorneys will ask the client to help in paying any out-of-pocket expenses. Our law firm usually asks for assistance with out-of-pocket expenses only if we feel the chances of recovery are low.

No Fee for Consultation

Your workers’ compensation attorney should not charge you for an initial consultation. If they do, you should look at other attorneys who offer free consultations. Our attorneys at Klezmer Maudlin PC do not charge our clients to talk. We will email and talk with you about your case or potential case free of charge.

Can Any Worker Apply for Workers’ Comp Benefits in Indiana?

Most employees in Indiana are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, and employees are typically eligible starting from their first day on the job. Still, certain workers cannot file for workers’ compensation benefits. They include:

  • Railroad employees. People who work in the railroad industry may receive benefits from the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). These include conductors and engineers, flagmen, foremen, and baggagemen.
  • Agricultural employees. Those who work on farms, ranches, or other agricultural facilities do not qualify for workers’ comp.
  • Independent contractors. Self-employed people and others who work as non-employees do not qualify for workers’ comp benefits. The same holds true for sole proprietors, executive officers, and partners and members of LLCs, among others.
  • Government employees. Local, state, and federal government employees may not qualify for workers’ comp benefits through the normal channels. Federal workers, for instance, are covered through the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA).
  • Realtors. Licensed real estate professionals who receive most of their pay from commissions are usually exempt from receiving workers’ comp.
  • Household employees. Housekeepers, gardeners, nannies, and others who provide domestic-related services typically don’t qualify.
  • Casual laborers. People who work odd jobs or have sporadic, unpredictable employment usually can’t file for workers’ compensation.

If you have any doubts about whether workers’ compensation covers you and your injury, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

What Benefits Can I Receive from Workers’ Comp?

In Indiana, workers’ compensation offers the following benefits to qualified employees:

  • Medical coverage. Workers’ comp will pay for any medical expenses you incurred as the result of a work-related injury or illness. You can also claim any time you miss work to attend medical appointments.
  • Temporary disability benefits. You may receive wage replacement that provides financial support to you weekly if you are too injured or ill to work at all. These benefits can also help if you can return to work but in a reduced capacity. They usually kick in if you miss more than seven days of work, and they can provide two-thirds of your pre-accident wages, or two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury and post-injury wages.
  • Permanent disability benefits. Workers’ comp may also provide wage replacement benefits to compensate you for permanent partial or total disabilities resulting from your injuries.
  • Death benefits. Workers’ compensation also offers death benefits to surviving spouses and other certain family members if a workplace accident or job-related illness killed their loved one. These benefits can help cover funeral and burial costs and other final expenses.

Contingency Fees: A Lifeline for Injured Workers

Worker’s compensation cases can be overwhelming, especially for individuals dealing with injuries and medical bills. In such circumstances, understanding how attorneys are compensated can be a significant relief. Many workers’ compensation attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if the case is successful.

This fee structure offers a lifeline to those injured on the job. It allows individuals access to legal representation without upfront costs. Attorneys take on the financial risk of the case, investing their time, expertise, and resources without requiring payment until the case is resolved favorably for the client. This setup aligns the attorney’s success with the client’s, fostering a sense of partnership and shared goals.

However, it’s crucial to comprehend the specifics of the contingency fee arrangement. Typically, attorneys receive a percentage of the final settlement or awarded benefits. This percentage may vary based on the complexity of the case, jurisdictional regulations, and the stage at which the case concludes—whether through settlement negotiations or after a trial.

Transparency is key in these fee structures. Attorneys should provide clear information about their contingency fee percentage and any additional expenses that might be incurred during the legal process. Clients are encouraged to discuss these details upfront to avoid surprises and ensure a mutually beneficial working relationship.

Choosing a reputable attorney experienced in worker’s compensation cases is essential. Not only do they navigate the legal complexities, but they also advocate for fair compensation, ensuring that injured workers receive the benefits they rightfully deserve. Clients should feel empowered to ask questions and seek clarification regarding the fee structure before engaging legal representation.

In essence, the contingency fee system in worker’s compensation cases serves as a beacon of hope for those facing financial hardship due to workplace injuries. It provides access to justice and professional legal guidance, allowing individuals to focus on recovery while their attorney works tirelessly to secure the compensation owed to them.

Hire an Experienced Workers Comp Attorney to Assess Your Case

If you have any questions about your workers’ compensation case, and whether you should pursue a case outside of your initial claim, please contact one of the attorneys at Klezmer Maudlin.

We offer free consultations, so you can speak with us about your claim without risk or obligation.