When you’re thinking of filing a workers’ compensation claim, one thing everyone wants to know is what percentage do compensation lawyers take?
This is an important detail, but it’s just one small part of hiring the right lawyer. So, how much do workers comp lawyers charge in Seattle and in Washington, and what other things should you consider when choosing a lawyer?
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
The law is a vast subject with many different areas. A workers’ compensation lawyer focuses on the area of law pertaining to helping victims of a workplace injury or illness and L&I.
If you’re injured or suffer an illness as a direct consequence of your work, it can have big repercussions for your quality of life. You may find you have large medical bills to pay and suffer a loss of income that leaves you wondering what steps to take next.
The legal system is there to protect you in these situations. Different states have different bodies that provide benefits to injured parties; here in Washington state, it’s the Department of Labor & Industries, or Washington L&I. The difficulty is, these cases can be very complex, and they’re difficult to navigate without the help of a skilled L&I lawyer.
Working with an L&I lawyer is likely to boost your chances of receiving compensation, but there’s one question many people ask:
What percentage do workers’ compensation lawyers take?
Most workers’ compensation lawyers will take on your case on a contingency basis. This means you only pay once you’ve won your case. There are no upfront costs, and you don’t pay if your case isn’t successful.
This is an important part of the legal system because it allows people to get the representation they need without the financial risk.
Most states will have a cap on the percentage lawyers can charge, with the average between 10% – 20% depending on the complexity of the case.
For example, if you agreed to a 15% fee with your L&I lawyer and won $80,000 in compensation, you would pay $12,000 to your attorney.
When people ask “what percentage does a workers comp lawyer get,” they’re concerned that the cost will eat into their compensation. However, as this study shows, people who hire an attorney to take care of their worker’s comp case tend to receive 30% more compensation than people who don’t.
When To Hire an L&I Lawyer
Some workers’ compensation lawyers will offer a free consultation to discuss your case. Even if you’re not sure about hiring a lawyer, there’s no harm in doing this because it allows you to see all your options.
Yes, a lawyer will take a percentage of your compensation, but a good lawyer will give you the best chance of winning your case. You’re also more likely to receive a better payout when you have a lawyer on your side. The top L&I attorneys will also investigate whether you have any third party injury claims as well.
If you’re struggling with medical bills and the prospect of no income, then it’s time to consider hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer.
If your case is low value and fairly cut and dry, it might not be as beneficial to hire a lawyer, but there are lots of times when it can greatly help your case:
- Your case is disputed by your employer
- You don’t have a lot of medical evidence
- A high-value claim, or one where you have suffered life-altering injuries
- You’re not sure whether to accept a settlement
- Your claim has been denied
Worker’s compensation cases can be confusing and stressful.
Sometimes, you need someone with experience in these cases on your side to help put your mind at ease and ensure you’re getting the best representation.
What Other Fees Do Workers Compensation Lawyers Charge?
There are other considerations besides ‘what percentage do compensation lawyers take.’
Sometimes your case might require extra fees that aren’t included within the contingency fee. These extra fees can include:
- Filing fees
- Copies of medical records
- Independent medical examinations
- Attorney’s travel expenses
- Copying and postage costs
Most attorneys will pay for these costs upfront, but they can be taken out of your compensation if your case is successful. While these aren’t the main costs associated with hiring an L&I lawyer, they’re worth being aware of.
When you’re thinking of hiring a compensation lawyer, make sure you discuss costs and ask any questions you might have.
Can You Negotiate Your Fee With a Workers Compensation Lawyer?
As most lawyers are limited by state law in how much they can charge, they tend to stick to the recommended percentage. However, there’s nothing stopping you from discussing costs and negotiating.
It’s your case, and you’re under no obligation to hire a certain lawyer at a certain fee. You may find you can negotiate your fee down, but it will depend on the circumstances.
When it comes to the cost, it’s worth focusing on the outcome of the case. You want your lawyer to be eager to win you the compensation you deserve, and when you’re working with the right lawyer, the chance of this happening is much higher.
Often, it’s well worth paying an extra percent or two if it’s going to significantly boost your level of compensation.
The Importance of Hiring a Workers Compensation Lawyer
There is no obligation to hire a compensation lawyer.
Here in Washington, you can file your own claim through the L&I website. However, there’s no guarantee your claim will be accepted and approved.
Your compensation claim is about your livelihood, and you need it to go smoothly. Workers’ compensation law isn’t simple, and even the most straightforward claims can run into roadblocks.
In these cases, Emery Reddy can offer the compassionate, professional help you need. With over 15 years’ of experience in L&I and thousands of litigated cases, we can take the load off your shoulders and give you confidence that you’re going to achieve the best possible result.
You don’t want to be left wondering if you gave yourself the best chance of success. Instead, it’s best to reach out and discuss your case with an experienced professional.