There are many reasons injured workers seeking workers’ compensation benefits find themselves in need of a workers’ compensation attorney, but they may be concerned with the cost. After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of the fees associated with workers’ compensation attorney fees in California.
Work injuries take on a lot of different forms, and each individual incident poses a unique situation that is affected by many different factors. It is obvious in some workplace injury occurrences that the injury was caused as a result of performing their job duties. In other cases, employers are more sympathetic to work-related injuries. But in some cases, for whatever reason, it seems as if the employer and/or the insurance company are not willing to accept that a claim is for a legitimate workplace injury. If you feel frustrated and find yourself not getting anywhere with your workers’ compensation benefits claim, it may be time to call a Los Angeles, CA, Workers’ Compensation Attorney to discuss your options regarding your case.
Workers’ compensation attorney fees in California are based on contingency fees. Contingency fees are only paid if you win your case, are paid out of your settlement amount, and are a percentage of your award. That means if you don’t win your case, you don’t pay for your legal services. You will be responsible for paying some or all of the court costs, however, as well as other expenses. Ask your attorney upfront what you will be expected to pay, whether you win or lose. When you secure an attorney, you should receive a contract with the percentage amount the attorney will charge you because this fee won’t change. It should also indicate when the lawyer’s fee will be determined, whether before or after the case is complete.
Your attorney may also include prorated services in your contract. These fees will be based on the amount of time your attorney spends on your case, considering how much of the legwork they will do and what stage in the process of filing your claim you are in. If you are just starting your case, your fee will be higher than if you are in the appeals phase. Lawyer fees for workers’ comp cases are also based on the complexity of the case. If there are a lot of witnesses to track down, your attorney fees may be higher. Your attorney fees agreement should also indicate whether you will be paying for unforeseen matters related to your case that don’t appear in the agreement but may arise later in your case.
It is important to know that attorney fees are negotiable and are not governed by laws or legal statutes. However, fees for legal services range between 9% and 12% but cannot exceed the maximum of 15% of the client’s settlement award.
By law, a workers’ comp lawyer must have you sign a Fee Disclosure Statement. The fee on this form must be approved by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board based on the following factors:
In some cases, attorney fees are the responsibility of the insurance company. These fees are paid directly to the lawyer for an insurance company and do not come out of the injured individual’s pocket or benefits; thus, these fees do not reduce the claimant’s settlement amount. 5710 fees can be as much as $500 per hour and cover a range of legal services from travel time, prep time of case material, and deposition time.
In addition to 5710 fees, the insurance company may also be responsible for paying the following services and fees:
Workers’ comp lawyers in California are paid contingency fees that are based on the outcome of the case. Thus, your lawyer earns a portion of your benefits award, which is usually between 10% and 12%. You should talk with a lawyer about the fees they charge before hiring them, as this is something that must be authorized by the judge presiding over your case.
Because a California workers’ compensation settlement depends on many factors, there is a wide range of typical settlements. To say the average settlement is around $10,000 is a very loose calculation of the average settlement that ranges anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000.
In 2024, the maximum temporary total disability rate in California was raised to $1,620 per week. One of the highest-paid settlements awarded was in 2021 when an $11.3 million settlement was awarded to a worker who suffered a catastrophic traumatic brain injury while on the job.
A general rule of thumb in California for workers’ compensation is that benefits typically equal two-thirds of the injured employee’s pre-tax gross wages. There is a max amount allowable by law, though, and this is only an estimate, as the actual amount for each case is determined by the state.
As of January 1, 2024, the California Department of Industrial Relations raised the minimum workers’ comp benefit rate for temporary total disability (TTD) to $242 per week and the maximum rate to $1619 per week. The increase directly corresponds with the increase in the State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) for the year. In the effective year prior to this year’s 5.15924% increase, the SAWW also increased by the same amount.
The takeaway here is that you stand to gain a lot more money when you are represented by an authority on workers’ compensation legalities. Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney is not a gamble. It’s an advantage that can work to your advantage and optimize the outcome of your claim. Call Canlas Law Group and speak with a member of our experienced and passionate legal team. We know the law and can help use it to benefit your case.