If you or someone you care about has been hurt on the job, you might be wondering whether you should hire a workers' compensation attorney or handle the claim on your own.
You could be at a disadvantage if you don't hire a lawyer, because your employer and its insurer are motivated by their own bottom lines. They benefit by paying you as little as possible, so they may not offer you all that you deserve. But, can you afford a workers' compensation attorney?
In Minnesota, attorney's fees in a workers' compensation case are contingent on the success of the claim. This means you will not pay your attorney any money out-of-pocket for lawyer's fees. You are only responsible for an attorney's fee if your lawyer succeeds in recovering benefits for you. This is called a contingency fee.
Workers' compensation contingency fees are set by Minnesota law. The fee is set at 20 percent of the benefits your attorney recovers on your behalf, with a maximum fee of $26,000 per injury. In some cases that involve disputes over an injured worker's rights to medical benefits and rehabilitation benefits, additional fees may apply but these are paid to your attorney directly by the insurance company or employer.
Before you hire an attorney, you will sign an agreement that details the fees you could be responsible for.
Are you wondering if paying a lawyer up to 20 percent of your benefits is worth it? The answer depends on whether a skilled attorney is likely to help you recover substantially more benefits than you would receive on your own.
While attorneys cannot promise you results, it is a good idea to schedule free consultations with reputable, local attorneys to talk to them about your case and ask them how they think they can help you.
Remember, state law determines the fees workers' compensation lawyers are allowed to charge. The best workers' compensation lawyer in Minneapolis is limited by law just like new law school grads. Neither can charge more than 20 percent of your recovery.
So, consult with experienced attorneys who have records of winning cases like yours. Ask them about their track records and ask for referrals from former clients. This will help you decide whether to hire a workers' compensation attorney and, if so, who you should hire.