What Percentage is Obtained by a Workers’ Comp Lawyer?

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Understanding the legal fees associated with workers’ compensation can be a challenging endeavor. One of the most frequently posed inquiries is regarding how much of a percentage workers’ comp lawyers receive. This article endeavors to demystify this inquiry by providing detailed information and knowledge about legal costs related to workers’ compensation cases.

The Contingency Fee Structure

An attorney’s payment structure, known as a contingency fee agreement or “no-win, no-fee” arrangement, hinges on the positive resolution of their client’s case. In instances related to workers’ compensation claims specifically, legal representation for an injured worker is only compensated if they achieve victory in court or obtain a settlement on behalf of the individual affected by injury. The amount received typically corresponds with an agreed-upon percentage drawn from any earned settlements and remains essential during litigation proceedings.

The Standard Percentage Range

A workers’ compensation lawyer’s fee, which is a percentage of the settlement amount, may vary but usually falls within an established range. This common range sets the parameters for negotiation between lawyers and clients regarding contingency fees.

  • Low End: The minimum percentage range for compensation is commonly at 15%, which means when a worker receives $50,000 as settlement amount, the lawyer’s fee would be around $7,500. This figure represents low-end payment values within legal services’ standard pricing structure;
  • High End: At the upper range of attorney fees, up to 25% of the settlement sum may be charged. To illustrate this with a $50,000 settlement case: if an attorney has set their fee at 25%, they would receive payment amounting to $12,500.

Key Considerations

Negotiating the PercentageAlthough there is a standard range, it’s crucial to remember that the percentage can be discussed and agreed upon by both the attorney and client. The negotiation may depend on various factors such as the complexity of case, lawyer’s expertise and experience, along with specific circumstances regarding their client.
Winning is CrucialLawyers are motivated to work hard on behalf of their clients because they receive payment only when the case is won or a settlement is obtained. As a result, attorney’s interests are aligned with those of their client who seeks compensation for injuries.
Financial AccessibilityClients who may lack the funds to pay for legal services upfront can benefit greatly from contingency fee arrangements. As a result, those injured while at work are able to pursue legal assistance without being encumbered by immediate expenses.
Legal CostsTake note that although the lawyer’s compensation relies on a successful outcome in the case, additional lawful expenses like court filing fees, expert witness charges and medical record retrieval costs may still need to be incurred. These expenditures usually fall outside of the attorney’s contingency fee and it is advisable to speak with your legal representative about them during your first meeting.

Factors Influencing the Percentage

Contingency fees in workers’ compensation cases can vary based on several key factors. In this detailed discussion, we will explore these factors and how they influence the percentage of contingency fees charged by lawyers. These factors include the complexity of the case, state’s legal fee limits, and the lawyer’s experience.

Complexity of the Case

When determining the contingency fee percentage, an important factor to consider is the complexity of a workers’ compensation case. The level of intricacy can vary greatly from simple to highly complicated cases, which in turn affects the rate at which lawyers charge for their services.

  • Complex Cases: The intricacies of complicated cases often entail a multitude of factors, such as multiple parties involved, contested accountability or exceptional legal matters. These types of instances require attorneys to dedicate considerable time and effort delving into complexities in order to resolve the case appropriately. As a result, contingency fees may be priced at higher percentage rates due to additional resources required by lawyers for managing these challenges;
  • Simple Cases: Conversely, less complex workers’ compensation cases demand reduced time and fewer resources to manage. Typically, these claims feature direct liability and minimal complexities. Lawyers are inclined to levy a lower percentage for such instances due to their lesser involvement in the proceedings.

State’s Legal Fee Limits

The contingency fee percentage in a workers’ compensation case may be significantly affected by the jurisdiction where it is being litigated. In certain states, there are definitive guidelines that impose restrictions on attorneys as to how much they can charge for their services when working under a contingency fee structure. The underlying purpose of these regulations is to ensure that clients do not fall prey to exorbitantly high fees charged by legal professionals.

  • States with Fee Limits: In states where legal fee limits are in place, attorneys must adhere to these regulations and typically cannot charge fees beyond the lower end of the usual range. As a result, clients residing in such states can rest assured that their contingency fee will not surpass the defined limit;
  • States without Fee Limits: In states where fee limits are not imposed, lawyers enjoy greater freedom in establishing their contingency fees. This may result in a broader spectrum of charged percentages, including higher rates by some attorneys who consider the case’s perceived difficulty and possible risks.

Lawyer’s Experience

The contingency fee percentage in a workers’ compensation case can be significantly impacted by the lawyer’s experience and reputation. When deciding whether or not to hire an attorney, clients usually take into account their expertise and track record.

  • Highly Experienced Lawyers: Lawyers who possess wide-ranging knowledge and skills in managing workers’ compensation cases, along with a history of triumphs, may demand greater contingency fees. Clients are usually agreeable to paying extra for confidence in superior legal representation since veteran attorneys have an enhanced probability of attaining favorable resolutions or significant compensatory payments;
  • Less Experienced Lawyers: Lawyers with lesser experience may choose to charge lower contingency fees in order to entice clients. Nevertheless, it is crucial for individuals seeking legal representation to thoroughly consider the possible drawbacks of having an inexperienced lawyer despite any cost savings that they might obtain.

State Caps and Regulations

Variations by State

The determination of the percentage at which a workers’ comp attorney can bill for their services is significant and subject to state laws. The intention behind these regulations is to safeguard claimants’ rights while also ensuring access to legal aid. The maximum amount that an attorney may charge varies from one state to another, frequently being limited. An overview showing the differences in lawyer fee limits across states regarding workers’ compensation cases follows:

StateMaximum Percentage Allowed
New York12%

It’s important to note that these percentages can change over time, so it’s essential to consult the most recent state regulations when seeking legal representation.

Impact on Your Case

The state-imposed caps on workers’ comp lawyer fees have several significant implications for your case:

  • Cost Savings: These caps ensure that the claimant retains a substantial portion of their compensation. For example, in states with a 20% cap, the claimant gets to keep 80% of the awarded compensation. This significantly reduces the financial burden on the injured worker;
  • Accessible Legal Assistance: The caps on lawyer fees make legal representation more accessible to individuals who might otherwise be deterred by high upfront costs. Claimants can seek legal help without worrying about exorbitant fees;
  • Ethical Considerations: The presence of fee caps promotes ethical behavior among lawyers. It discourages lawyers from overcharging clients and incentivizes them to focus on achieving the best possible outcome for the claimant.

The Benefits of a Contingency Fee

In workers’ compensation cases, lawyers often work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if they win the case. This fee arrangement offers several advantages:

  • No Upfront Costs: One of the most significant benefits of a contingency fee is that clients do not have to pay any upfront fees. This eliminates financial barriers for injured workers seeking legal representation. Clients only pay if they receive compensation;
  • Alignment of Interests: Contingency fees align the interests of the lawyer and the client. Lawyers are motivated to pursue the best possible outcome for the case since their payment is contingent on winning. This ensures that the attorney is fully committed to the client’s success;
  • Risk Sharing: Lawyers assume the risk of losing the case when working on a contingency fee basis. This encourages them to carefully evaluate cases and take on those they believe have a strong chance of success.

Case Costs and Additional Fees

While discussing what percentage does a workers’ comp lawyer get, it’s crucial to consider additional costs associated with the case.

Types of Additional Costs

Additional CostsDefinitionPurposeAmount
Filing FeesFiling fees refer to the charges incurred when submitting legal documents to the court, initiating or responding to a workers’ compensation case.These fees are essential for processing the case within the legal system.Filing fees vary by jurisdiction and may range from tens to hundreds of dollars, depending on the complexity of the case and local regulations.
Expert Witness FeesExpert witness fees encompass payments made to qualified professionals who possess specialized knowledge and may testify or provide expert opinions in support of the case.Expert witnesses can offer valuable insights and credibility to your workers’ compensation claim.Expert witness fees can vary widely, depending on the expertise required and the duration of their involvement. Costs can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
Administrative ExpensesAdministrative expenses pertain to various office-related costs incurred during the course of a workers’ compensation case.These expenses may include costs for copying documents, postage, and other miscellaneous office-related expenses.Administrative expenses can be relatively modest, but they can add up over the course of a case, particularly if it is protracted.

Who Pays These Costs?

The responsibility for covering these additional costs in a workers’ compensation case can vary, and it largely depends on the agreement between the client and the lawyer. Here are the common scenarios:

  • Client Responsibility: In many cases, clients are expected to bear the financial burden of these additional costs separately from the lawyer’s percentage. This means that clients are responsible for paying filing fees, expert witness fees, and administrative expenses as they arise during the case;
  • Repayment Conditions: Some workers’ compensation lawyers may choose to front these costs on behalf of their clients, with the understanding that these expenses will be repaid upon winning the case. This arrangement can be beneficial for clients who may not have the financial means to cover these costs upfront.


Understanding what percentage does a workers’ comp lawyer get is crucial when navigating your workers’ compensation claim. While the contingency fee structure is prevalent, it’s important to be aware of state regulations, additional costs, and the possibility of negotiation. Remember, a good workers’ comp lawyer will always be transparent about their fees and how they are calculated.

Navigating workers’ comp claims can be complex, but knowing what percentage a workers’ comp lawyer gets is a key step in making informed decisions about your legal representation. Remember, a well-chosen lawyer is not just an expense but an investment in securing the compensation you deserve.


What Happens if the Case is Lost?

In most contingency fee arrangements, if the lawyer does not win the case, the client does not owe any legal fees. This does not always include the additional case costs.

Can the Percentage Be Negotiated?

Yes, sometimes the percentage that a workers’ comp lawyer gets can be negotiated, though this depends on the lawyer’s policy and the case’s specifics.

Is the Percentage Taken Before or After Expenses?

Typically, the lawyer’s percentage is calculated after deducting case expenses from the settlement amount.

What Should I Look for in a Workers’ Comp Lawyer?

When seeking a lawyer, consider their experience, success rate in workers’ comp cases, and the clarity of their fee structure.

How is the Settlement Paid Out?

The settlement is usually paid out as a lump sum or through structured payments, with the lawyer’s percentage deducted accordingly.

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