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How Will my Lawyer be Paid and What is a Contingent Fee Agreement?

On Behalf of | Dec 26, 2016 | Worker's Compensation

You may have been injured at work in an accident and you have found that your employer is refusing to back your claim for workers compensation because he or she doesn’t think your injuries are serious enough. In this situation you may have to hire a workers compensation lawyer to help you get the compensation you are legally entitled to.

Sometimes, injured employees like yourself don’t think you can afford to hire an attorney. This is typically not the case as most workers compensation lawyers offer their services on a contingent fee agreement. This means you pay nothing until you have received the workers compensation settlement and the lawyer deducts the fees before you receive the cash.

How a Contingent Fee is Calculated

This is not an hourly or flat fee but is worked out based on a percentage of the settlement. In Iowa you can expect to pay around 25 percent of the settlement amount as a contingent fee. This will also include filing fees when your claim is lodged on your behalf with the workers’ compensation office. The district court that is responsible for overseeing the claim will make the final decision on the value of the contingent fee and it is often lower than 25 percent of the settlement value.

The main advantage to you of hiring an attorney who works on a contingent fee arrangement is that you will owe nothing to the attorney if the settlement is rejected.  Sometimes the lawyer may try to bypass the contingent fee, especially if they think your case may be difficult to win. In this situation you may have to pay whatever hourly rate your lawyer sets.

Why do Attorneys Offer the Contingent Fee Arrangement?

A lot of workers compensation attorneys like to use the contingent fee method because they believe it is better for the plaintiff.  Many injured workers would typically not have the cash to pay for a lawyer if they were unable to work because of a debilitating injury. If their employer has refused to offer workers compensation they have no choice but to pursue legal means to be compensated as the financial burden of being off work and having to pay for medical treatment is far too great.

A workers compensation attorney will only take up a case that has a high chance of being won. So it’s a win-win situation for both the plaintiff and the lawyer if a contingent fee offers the means of paying legal fees. You will soon know if you have a good case to receive workers compensation as your lawyer will see what evidence you have and will have studied medical reports and anticipated recovery times before agreeing to represent you.

How do You and Your Lawyer Receive Payment?

When your workers compensation settlement has been achieved, the amount is usually sent to your lawyer. The contingent fee is further deducted before you are sent the final amount. This method ensures your lawyer gets paid for the services you have received. When the check is forwarded on to you, it will include a breakdown of fees and other costs that have been deducted from the settlement before you have received it. If you for any reason feel you should dispute the charges, the lawyer will place the amount under dispute into a trust account until the dispute has been resolved. In the end you will get what you are legally entitled too and your lawyer will be paid for services rendered too.

For more information on workers compensation and contingent fees in Iowa, please contact Charles Smith at Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP today at 712-309-3738.