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Workers’ Compensation: Who Pays the Expenses of Your Case and What Does that Cost?

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2017 | Worker's Compensation

Often, injured workers wonder if they have the financial means to hire a workers’ compensation attorney in Iowa. Cost and fees are legitimate and reasonable questions to ask when it comes to pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. People frequently attempt to handle contentious cases on their own because they fear the costs associated.  Keep in mind that initial consultations are free.

Most workers’ compensation attorneys in Council Bluffs provide representation on a contingency basis. Contingency fees allow employees who are unable to work and facing steep medical bills an opportunity to obtain legal advice and representation, without the concern for upfront costs. How do contingency fees work and what costs are and are not included in these fees?

What Is a Contingency Fee?

When a lawyer agrees to provide representation on a contingency basis the client doesn’t pay any legal fees upfront. The lawyer doesn’t track billable hours or charge the client monthly. The lawyer’s fee is generally a percentage of permanency benefits whether the claim is settled or taken to trial.  If the client loses his or her case, the attorney doesn’t collect any fees.  There are some exceptions to fees in uncommon circumstances and in those cases your attorney should clarify them and document them in the written fee agreement.

The percentage fee is agreed upon between attorney and client. Unlike most states, Iowa doesn’t impose a maximum amount or percentage that a lawyer can collect in attorney’s fees. A client should be aware that the typical percentage is 33 1/3%. If a lawyer agrees to work on a contingency fee basis, you should be very clear about the percentage at the start of the engagement.  The percentage fee is negotiable under some circumstances.  New laws enacted July 1, 2017 have modified/restricted fees in some circumstances.

What Are the Other Costs of a Workers’ Comp Case?

An injured employee should be aware that expenses of a workers’ compensation case are not included in legal fees. The term legal fee refers exclusively to the amount a lawyer is paid for handling the claim. Costs include numerous items depending on the nature and complexity of your case.  There are fees associated with obtaining medical records, filing fees, paying for the services of a court reporter, fees associated with consultations with doctors who are involved with the care, and on rare occasions, travel expenses.

It is important to clarify with your lawyer what expenses to expect throughout your particular case, and when those out of pocket expenses need to be paid. Some lawyers bill these costs monthly, while others apply these expenses at the conclusion of a case.

Contacting a Lawyer

At Telpner Peterson Law Firm, we provide upfront and honest fee estimates based on the specifics of your case. Attorney, Walter Thomas is always cognizant of clients’ financial restrictions and the need for cost-effective legal services. To discuss your case, learn the potential compensation from your claim, and learn the options to obtain workers’ compensation benefits, schedule a complimentary consultation with our Council Bluffs office. Simply call 712-309-3738 or contact Telpner Peterson Law Firm online.