If you retain the services of a workers’ compensation attorney in Boca Raton, you may wonder – how do they make money? After all, you can hire them without paying anything upfront, so how do they get paid?
At Sternberg Forsythe, P.A., we are here to answer this question and give you a bit of insight into the inner workings of our law firm.
There is a workers’ compensation system in Florida, and the law requires employers to insure employees against on-the-job illnesses and injuries. The insurance purchased will cover all lost wages and medical costs related to the on-the-job illness or injury.
In most situations, recovering workers’ compensation benefits is simple and straightforward. However, there are some situations where it becomes complicated. In these cases, our team is here and ready to help.
However, the truth is that some injured employees aren’t sure they should hire an attorney for their case. The main reason is financial. They are already struggling financially, and, as a result, they are concerned they won’t be able to cover the cost of quality legal representation.
This simply isn’t how it works. Keep reading to learn more.
The Basics of Contingency Fee Arrangements
Many workers’ compensation attorneys (like us) receive payments on a contingency fee basis. This means that we agree only to receive a payment if your case is successful. If this happens, the payment for our services comes from the settlement amount you receive rather than out of your pocket. If your case is unsuccessful, payment is not required.
It’s important to understand that no matter the outcome of the legal case, there will be other files that are the client’s responsibility. One example is filing fees. With a contingency fee arrangement, the attorneys’ fees are set at a specific amount of percentage that we will discuss when taking on your case.
Due to the setup of these arrangements, lawyers are encouraged to do their best with the case since what they receive as payment depends on the outcome of the case.
Workers’ Compensation Attorney Fee Caps in Florida
Hiring an attorney is usually expensive; this is a well-known fact. However, even though this is the case for other areas of law, it’s not the situation with a workers’ compensation claim – especially in Florida.
If it is more affordable to hire a workers’ compensation attorney. This is because the state of Florida (and a few others) limit what you can be charged.
The Workers’ Compensation Act in Florida has outlined the maximum fees that lawyers can charge.
The charges allowed include:
- Maximum of 20% for the initial $5,000
- Maximum of 15% for the next $5,000
- Maximum of 10% of the rest of the settlement amount. The money must be paid within a decade of filing the initial claim.
- A maximum of five percent of the total settlement is secured after 10 years.
Additionally, the law states that no fees are paid to an attorney unless the judge presiding over the case or who has jurisdiction approves it. Also, the judge cannot allow higher than the amounts listed above.
Because Florida has put a cap on what workers’ compensation attorneys can charge, they typically charge this max amount. What many clients don’t realize, though, is that these rates are negotiable. Also, an attorney can only bill you for the benefits they work to help you secure.
Who Is Responsible for Paying the Workers’ Compensation Attorney You Hire?
According to Florida law, the plaintiff is the one who is responsible for paying the attorney’s fees. Usually, lawyers will receive the payment from the settlement money that you receive rather than from your wallet.
While this is true, there are situations where your employer or even their workers’ compensation insurance carrier will cover the attorney’s fees. Some of the situations where this applies include:
- The employer initially denied that the accident had taken place.
- The insurance carrier or employer filed a response to your petition and denied benefits through the Office of Judge of Compensation Claims.
- Your employer applied for a modification or review of your compensation, claim, or award.
Hire Our Legal Team for Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
As you can see from the information above, in most cases, you will not be responsible for paying your workers’ compensation attorney out of your own picket. Instead, the fees and payment will come from the settlement you receive for your workers’ compensation claim. This means that even if you are experiencing financial troubles due to your workplace accident, you can still retain quality and experienced legal representation. If you have been injured at work and need help with your case, we encourage you to reach out to us today.