Have you ever wondered how a Florida workers’ compensation attorney makes money? The US state of Florida, like other American states, has a workers’ compensation system. The law requires employers to insure their employees against on-the-job injuries and illnesses. This insurance covers the employee’s medical bills and lost income benefits.
Usually, the workers’ comp recovery process is straightforward. However, sometimes it becomes technical and complicated, requiring a Florida workers’ compensation attorney’s aid.
Unfortunately, though, many injured employees are skeptical about hiring an attorney. The primary reason is that since they may already have money problems, they fear being unable to pay a good lawyer. To help you understand how you can pay an attorney, we wrote this article on how Florida workers’ compensation lawyers earn their fees.
Contingency Fee Arrangements
Most workers’ compensation lawyers receive payment on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee arrangement is when a lawyer agrees that they will only accept payment if they win the case. If they win, their fees come from the settlement money. If they lose, they get nothing.
Irrespective of the case’s outcome, though, you will most likely have to pay other fees such as filing fees. The CFA usually pegs the attorney’s fees at a substantial percentage or amount. These arrangements inspire lawyers to give their best to your case since their earnings depend on their winning.
Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Attorney Fee Caps
Lawyers are generally costly. While this is true for most law areas, the case is different with workers’ compensation claims. It is cheaper to get a workers’ comp attorney. This is because most states, including Florida, regulate and limit the lawyer’s fees.
Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Act provides for the maximum fee lawyers can charge. Your attorney can only charge:
- 20% of the first $5,000
- 15% of the next $5,000
- 10% of the remaining amount of the settlement. The money must be provided within ten years of the date of filing the claim.
- 5% of the settlement secured after ten years
Furthermore, the law provides that no fees may be paid to any lawyer unless approved by the judge of compensation claims or the court with jurisdiction over the proceedings. The judge, in this instance, cannot endorse higher than what is stipulated above.
Since Florida places a cap on the amount workers’ comp lawyers can charge, they often charge that exact amount. However, you can negotiate a lower cost for your case. It’s also noteworthy that your attorney can only bill you for those benefits they helped you secure.
Who Pays Your Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Florida law states that the plaintiff is responsible for paying their attorney’s fees. Workers’ comp lawyers usually receive payment from the settlement money and not from your pocket. There are instances, though, where your employer or the insurance carrier will pay your attorney’s fees. They include where:
- Your employer denied that an accident occurred.
- Your employer or insurance carrier files a response to the petition denying benefits with the Office of the Judge of Compensation Claims.
- Your employer applies for a review or modification of your award, claim, or compensation.
- You successfully assert a petition for medical benefits only if you haven’t and aren’t entitled to file a claim for disability, permanent impairment, wage-loss, or death benefits arising from the same accident.
For your employer to be liable for your attorney’s fees in the above instances, you must win the proceedings.
Other Charges Related To Your Case
Apart from your attorney’s fees, other expenses arise during the claims process, including:
- Court filing fees
- Copies of medical records and billings
- Attorney’s travel expenses
- Cost of hiring expert witnesses
- Cost of independent medical examinations
- Postage and copying fees
The standard fee agreements usually don’t capture these expenses. However, many Florida law firms will offset these charges on their own but may demand reimbursement after winning the case. Note that they can still demand repayment even if you lose.
It would be best to have an extensive discussion with your workers’ compensation attorney before signing any contract. This way, you can fully understand everything the agreement covers and the terms of such coverage. It would also help determine the likely cost of these minor expenses not usually covered under the agreement.
Miami Lawyers 360 Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Help You
If you suffer an injury at work, you deserve compensation. With the information above, you don’t need to bother about the high costs of hiring a workers’ comp lawyer. As the best Miami workers’ compensation lawyers, we abide by the provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act. Our lawyers are also equipped with the necessary skill and expertise to win you favorable workers’ comp benefits. Therefore, it would be best to hire us to represent you during your claims process.