Attorney Fees In Workers Compensation Claims
Workers’ Compensation laws are complicated and it can be very difficult to make decisions about your claim if you don’t know what your rights are. Unless you really enjoy learning complex rules and laws and you have hours and hours to spend doing that, the only way to fully understand and appreciate your rights is to hire an experienced attorney to help you. In addition to knowing the law, an attorney has experience handling cases that an injured worker could never replicate on their own. Even so, many injured workers try to go it alone without the help of an attorney. There are different reasons why someone would hesitate to hire an attorney, but one of the most common reason we hear is lack of clarity about the issue of attorney fees.
The first thing to know is that you will generally never* see a bill for attorney fees from our office. You will never be writing a check to our office to pay for our fees. Our attorney fees are strictly contingent and are either paid directly by the insurance company when we help you prevail on a denial, or they are paid out of settlement proceeds that we negotiate as a resolution to your case.
This is different than many other kinds of attorneys who work in insurance defense, or family law or helping with real estate and property issues. Insurance defense attorneys keep detailed records of their time and then bill their clients for each phone call, letter and file review that they do on the case. They set their fee at an hourly rate and then multiply their hourly rate by the amount of time they spend on the case. Even if they lose the case, they will still collect their full fee from their client.
You have nothing to lose by hiring a workers’ compensation attorney to help with your case. They will not be entitled to any part of your regular time loss payments in almost all cases. You will not have to pay any attorney fees up front. If you have already been offered a settlement by the insurance company, feel free to ask the attorney if they would be willing to take a fee only on any increased amount above the current offer! Oregon law sets the maximum amount of fees that a workers’ compensation attorney can earn in most cases, but it is permissible for a
claimant’s attorney to take account of a prior offer and lower their fee accordingly.
If you are waiting to hire an attorney because you are concerned about how much you might have to pay, please call us. Do not be embarrassed to talk with an attorney about their fees. We are always glad to give you a free consultation and would be glad to discuss any concerns you have about attorney fees. We are confident that we can help you reach the best outcome for your case and we will not let fee issues get in the way of that!
The above information is NOT a substitute for legal advice and should not be interpreted as the dissemination of legal advice. It is only meant as general guidance on various issues which may be applicable to your situation. It is critical that you
consult with an experienced attorney before taking any legal action or have specific questions addressing your particular case answered.
* Our firm does not charge hourly or transactionally for attorney fees associated with workers’ compensation, personal injury, and social security disability. Attorney’s fee for these areas of law amount to a percentage of your recovery. On some very rare occasions the insurance company will send our client the full settlement check including the attorney’s fee portion. Only in those events will we ask the client to send us a check for fees reflecting our percentage of the recovery. Even in those situations, the client will not be out of pocket for attorney’s fee as they will only pay us a percentage of the settlement check they received.