Let’s face it, nobody likes the thought of having to hire a lawyer. The very idea of calling a lawyer or making an appointment can be very stressful. If you are like most people, you’ve never needed to hire a lawyer and have no idea what’s involved. You probably have a number of questions and concerns, but for most people, the # 1 question is: “How much will it cost (or, how do I pay a work comp lawyer)?”
In Minnesota, hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer is actually fairly painless. In a nutshell, we only get paid if we are successful. I can’t speak for other law firms, but at Bradt Law Offices, we don’t ask for any money up front to cover costs or expenses and you’ll never receive a bill from us. It costs you nothing to hire us and we only get paid if we recover benefits for you.
Attorney Fees Are Set by Law
Not only do we only get paid if we win, but our fees are controlled by law and are the same for every lawyer in every Minnesota work comp case. Attorney fees are 25% of the first $4000 we recover for you, and then 20% after that. The maximum automatic fee under this formula is $13,000 for each date of injury. In the majority of cases, attorney fees never come close to $13,000. In some cases, however, we may receive total fees in excess of $13,000 where there are multiple disputes, prolonged and ongoing litigation or where our client receives a substantial amount of benefits or a large settlement. We never request fees in excess of $13,000 without our clients’ agreement and understanding.(UPDATE: For injuries occurring on or after October 1, 2013, attorney fees are now 20% of all benefits recovered up to an automatic maximum of $26,000)
Situations Where We Might Receive a Fee from Your Benefits
Attorney fees are only paid from disputed benefits. If you hire us and are already receiving wage loss benefits, we do not start taking a percentage of those benefits because we didn’t get them for you. We would represent you from that point forward on any other issues that may come up during the course of your claim. In fact, we sometimes open and close a file without earning any attorney fees because no disputes ever arise. These are examples of some common situations where you might pay attorney fees out of benefits you receive:
- Your claim is denied and we get benefits for you, either by settlement or after a trial
- Your benefits are discontinued and we get them reinstated
- The insurance company is underpaying you and we get your benefits increased
- We negotiate a settlement of your claim
Some Attorney Fees Are Paid by the Insurance Company
Not every dispute in a work comp claim involves money payable to you. For example, the insurance company may be voluntarily paying your wage loss benefits but refusing to approve surgery, an MRI or a referral to a medical specialist. This would be strictly a medical dispute. If we file a claim for the disputed medical issues and win, the insurance company will pay our attorney fees, not you.
Or, if there is a dispute involving a QRC or vocational rehabilitation issues and we win, the insurance company will again have to pay our fees, because we aren’t putting any money in your pocket. Wherever possible, we always try to get the insurance company to pay our fees.
Free Consultation Over the Phone or in Person
At Bradt Law Offices, you can call us anytime with questions about your claim or to see if you might need a lawyer. If you prefer, we can make an appointment to meet in our office, in the hospital or at your home to discuss your case. We will explain the work comp system , what benefits you might be entitled to and whether or not you need a lawyer. There is never a charge for this service or information.
What we recommend
Don’t be afraid to call a lawyer if you have questions about a work comp claim or feel that you’re not being treated fairly by the insurance company. At Bradt Law Offices, we speak with people all the time who simply have questions about a claim but don’t necessarily need an attorney. We are happy to help in any way we can and, very often, people we speak with later end up hiring us when a dispute arises on their claim.
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