Workers compensation, or workers comp, is a type of insurance that protects employees in Georgia who become injured while on the job. Almost all employers in Georgia are required to carry workers comp, but getting coverage can be surprisingly hard. The insurance company that pays for your workers’ comp claim may question whether you were actually injured while at work, or they may try to pay out less than you deserve.
This is where a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you. If you’re thinking of hiring a workers comp lawyer, you might wonder how they will get paid and what costs or fees are involved if you win your case. Here’s everything you need to know.
What Does a Workers Compensation Lawyer Do for Me?
Under workers compensation, you should receive two-thirds of your regular weekly income as well as reimbursement for doctor visits and medical treatment. But even workers comp insurers will be hesitant to pay out too much and may look for ways to cut their costs.
Workers compensation lawyers help ensure you’re treated fairly when you file a workers comp claim with your employer’s workers comp insurance company. They can help you with the process of actually filing your claim (which you’ll need to do as soon as possible), as well as negotiating with the insurance company to reach a settlement amount that will provide you with benefits and fully cover your damages.
A workers comp lawyer can also help you if your employer should have workers compensation insurance but never got it. This is illegal under Georgia law, so you’ll need legal representation.
How Do Georgia Workers Compensation Lawyers Get Paid?
Workers compensation lawyers in Georgia are typically paid through a contingency fee and not by an hourly rate. That means the lawyer does not get paid unless you are awarded benefits from a workers’ compensation judge or your case is settled. Basically, in most cases, they don’t get paid unless they win you money.
What Are the Costs and Fees of Hiring a Workers Compensation Lawyer?
There are two main types of costs to hiring a workers compensation lawyer in Georgia: attorney fees and legal costs. Here are the details of each.
1. Attorney fees.
If you do win and receive an award or settlement, your workers’ comp lawyer will then get a portion of that monetary amount. This is the contingency fee. The maximum amount a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer can collect from a case is 25%. This is low compared to other personal injury cases where the fee is typically between 33 and 40%. Plus, workers compensation cases can involve a significant amount of work. However, in some cases, a lawyer may agree to a lower fee if the case is relatively straightforward and quick.
2. Legal costs.
Legal costs are what result from gathering evidence during a workers’ compensation case, and they are separate from attorney fees from a successful case.
Legal costs can include fees for:
- Expert witness testimony, such as from a doctor about your injuries
- Filing appeals
- Court reporters (for transcribing depositions)
- Research-related costs
Some lawyers will charge these costs separately from their attorney fees, while others might combine the expenses into one bill. Or, they may deduct the legal costs from your award or settlement. These costs are usually unavoidable, although a good lawyer will clearly explain each cost. They may do what they can to limit costs to you, but keep in mind that workers comp cases usually require good expert testimony and medical evidence. Lack of these resources can be detrimental, even fatal, to the possibility of winning your case.
Will I Have to Pay My Workers Compensation Lawyer Upfront?
Most lawyers will not ask to be paid upfront, even the legal costs. They will cover these costs during the process so they can be handled after the case. If you do not receive a settlement or award, the lawyer will not get paid the attorney fee. They may also forgive the additional costs in this situation. These are questions to ask your lawyer, about how fees are handled, during the initial consultation.
In addition, most workers comp lawyers will also give you a free consultation during your first contact so you can decide if it’s a good fit and go over the details. If a lawyer does not offer a free consultation, it could be a red flag because a free initial consultation is standard practice.
Talk to a Workers Compensation Lawyer Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have been representing workers in their workers’ comp claims for more than 20 years. We know how to handle these types of cases, and we know what it takes to win. Plus, our initial consultation is ALWAYS free. Contact us today to talk about the details and get your questions answered. Call us today at 404-400-4000, or fill out the form to the right for your free consultation.