Michigan Worker's Compensation - Help For Injured Michigan Workers

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    36

    Thumbs down Lawyers Suck Advice

    So, I just got a check from the work comp ins. for monies owed to me for several years. The total was only about $1400. My lawyer kept the entire check, saying his expenses thus far are around $4,000. He also says that if my case is not settled in the forseeable future that he will then charge me the difference, around $2,000. Can he do this? I thought they could only bill me if I received money? It now puts me in a situation that if I dont settle I will have to pay the lawyer anyway.

    I havent even been offered a settlement from the ins compmany. I am 7 yrs into my catastrophic injury, on permenant and total disability. This lawyer has only been with my case for 2 yrs. I think he is being a sleeze ball. But I dont want to change my lawyers around cause I think it would look bad if I get a different lawyer. My first lawyers would never have charged something like this. I dont mind paying my fair share for services, but if I am not even getting money, how can he charge?

  2. #2
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    Feb 2007
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    Calif
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    Default Re: Lawyers Suck Advice

    The rule/statute on atty fees for employees is here Chapter 152: Section 13A. Attorney’s fees for employees

    http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/152-13a.htmIf your atty has to go to court to enforce an award, appeal, you can request atty fees on top of the award.
    TITLE XXI. LABOR AND INDUSTRIES


    CHAPTER 152. WORKERS’ COMPENSATION


    PROCEDURE


    Chapter 152: Section 12A. Award of costs and attorney’s fees


    Section 12A. If on appeal to the appeals court or the supreme judicial court pursuant to section twelve the claimant prevails, the court shall allow the claimant, in addition to the award in the judgement, an amount equal to the reasonable cost of his attorney’s fees, briefs and other necessary expenses that result from the appeal. When any party in interest obtains an enforcement order from the superior court department of the trial court pursuant to said section twelve, the court shall also allow the party the reasonable cost of attorney’s fees, briefs and other expenses provided for by this section.
    http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/152-12a.htm

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 1971
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    3,519

    Default Re: Lawyers Suck Advice

    medic1
    I dont mind paying my fair share for services, but if I am not even getting money, how can he charge?


    Be aware the above links links are for Massachusetts, you are posting in the Michigan forum.
    What state are we talking about, it makes a big difference.
    Tony
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    http://www.workerscompensationinsura...inks/index.htm

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Lawyers Suck Advice

    Sorry... my mistake.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2007
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    36

    Default Re: Lawyers Suck Advice

    I am in Michigan. This money was for the Permenant and Total disability. My first lawyer had put in for it and then pulled it. That is when I switched lawyers. We resubmitted for P and T and they agreed to voluntarily pay for a year and a half from when it was submitted. Makeing the difference up for that past time led to the $1400 in back pay when wage was adjusted.

    He is taking all costs out of this P and T. Even my life care plan expense, which would be used for final settlement. Shouldnt that be a cost that would come out of a final settlement and not for the P and T?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 1971
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    3,519

    Default Re: Lawyers Suck Advice

    Ask for a breakdown for his fees, something doesn’t sound right.


    Workers are usually represented by attorneys who are paid on the basis of a
    contingent percentage fee. The worker is not ordinarily required to pay any fee or
    monies when he or she hires the attorney. Instead the attorney agrees to accept as
    his or her fee a percentage of the amount the attorney recovers for the worker. If
    there is no recovery, the attorney does not receive any fee.
    Ordinarily the attorney will pay the costs of preparing the case for trial. This
    often involves a considerable amount of money to pay doctors for reports and
    examinations and to pay court reporters. If there is a recovery of money for the
    worker, this amount is deducted first to reimburse the attorney for the monies he
    or she has paid out.
    Then the attorney charges a percentage fee on the remaining
    amount of money that is recovered. The attorney is allowed to base the fee on all
    the workers’ compensation benefits that have been recovered for the worker up to
    the time the case is concluded. The attorney is not permitted to charge a fee on
    benefits that are paid in the future.

    See page 43 in this link.
    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/wc...4_135317_7.pdf

    Tony
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    We reserve the right to forbid any user from participating in this forum, and to close any user account, at any time, for any reason. In the interest of the community, this may be done without prior notice or warning.
    http://www.workerscompensationinsura...inks/index.htm

  7. #7
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    Feb 2007
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    36

    Default Re: Lawyers Suck Advice

    I have a breakdown of the expenses. The biggest expense is $3000 for a life care plan that had to be done. This lists all my expected medical expenses for life and any expenses that may occur due to my injury. The second biggest expense is for my Dr.'s deposition, $750, and the rest is just expeses for copies of my reords and misc. subpoenas.

    I just cant believe that everything I ask the attorney to do he is chargeing me for. I am at the point where I would rather try and deal with the ins company on my own because everything that is recovered due to the fact that they didnt pay what they were supposed to pay isnt getting me anywhere, and monies recovered are going to the attorneys. what is the point in fighting for my benefits when i dont even get them?

  8. #8
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    Oct 1971
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    Default Re: Lawyers Suck Advice

    O.K I'll break this down.

    medic1
    The total was only about $1400. My lawyer kept the entire check, saying his expenses thus far are around $4,000
    The biggest expense is $3000 for a life care plan that had to be done. This lists all my expected medical expenses for life and any expenses that may occur due to my injury. The second biggest expense is for my Dr.'s deposition, $750, and the rest is just expeses for copies of my reords and misc. subpoenas.
    Well so far, things seem Kosher.

    He also says that if my case is not settled in the forseeable future that he will then charge me the difference, around $2,000. Can he do this?
    No, he's blowing smoke, a judge would never allow it.
    If there is no recovery, the attorney does not receive any fee.


    So, I just got a check from the work comp ins. for monies owed to me for several years. The total was only about $1400.
    Now, here's the part that doesn't make sense.
    That amount adds up to a few weeks of wage loss payments, not years, why is it so low?
    It seems that should be $14,000.00 instead of $1400.00
    This part, I would take issue with, it makes zero sense.

    Tony
    Last edited by tony; 05-15-2010 at 09:40 AM.
    Moderator
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    http://www.workerscompensationinsura...inks/index.htm

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Lawyers Suck Advice

    I just cant believe that everything I ask the attorney to do he is chargeing me for.
    Practicing law is a business, your attorney is ''self employed''. There are costs to doing business...rent, utilities. WC on the employees etc.

    When you are denied benefits you can file for a hearing with the comp court yourself. WC is administrative law, supposedly, IW"s should be able to represent themselves...we all know that's not the case. If you don't dispute a denial to a requested benefit, the denial stands. No further benefits will be providid until/unless a judge orders it.

    When there is a severe injury requiring life long treatment/care, a life care plan is necessary to get a handle on what that care may consist of, and the potential cost. In many cases CMS/Medicare requires this plan to be included with a WCMSA proposal. That's how future medical care is estimated. Your atty got this done by a vendor to support your contention of the amount of money necessary to fund the future medical you may need.
    The carrier can and often does arrange for the life care plan... obviously they would either do this in-house, or through a ''friendly'' vendor.

    Your atty is looking out for your best interests. Few if any IW's would even know about life care plans, or what the potential value of a future medical care award might be.

    Your attorney is entitled to resonable reimbursement for services provided, and a fee on money you recover in the claim.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    36

    Default Re: Lawyers Suck Advice

    Quote Quoting tony View Post
    O.K I'll break this down.

    medic1
    Well so far, things seem Kosher.

    No, he's blowing smoke, a judge would never allow it.
    If there is no recovery, the attorney does not receive any fee.


    Now, here's the part that doesn't make sense.
    That amount adds up to a few weeks of wage loss payments, not years, why is it so low?
    It seems that should be $14,000.00 instead of $1400.00
    This part, I would take issue with, it makes zero sense.

    Tony
    It is low because they have paid my benefits all along. They are going back voluntarily and paying for the adjustment due to me for the permenant and total disability. That only equaled out to about a $12 difference a week.

    Why doesnt the ins. company have to pay for my att. fees? I mean if they would pay for what they are supposed to pay from the begining I wouldnt incure these fees. I understand that attorneys get paid, and like this attorney said, this is will be one of his biggest work comp settlements ever if settled. He knows he is going to get a heafty paycheck at the end if settled. Which reminds me he submitted an offer to the ins company without even consulting me on the amount being asked. He never contacts me, i always have to call him and see where things are at. He always seems in a hurry to hang up when I am on the phone with him. My thing is, I dont care about the money, its not going in my pocket to live a life of luxury. I would give everything back I could to get rid of my injury. I need monies for my medical issues. Everything I do costs more because of the need for adaptaions and such. Even though work comp is supposed to pay the only pay for things every so many years, so if something happens your shit out of luck and it comes out of pocket. Example: My truck was having mechanical problems, I had to trade it in for another vehicle, my lift for wheelchair had to be removed and needs to be installed on my new truck. Work comp says they wont do this because it is too early for another modification to a vehicle. So I have to pay for lift removal, lift install, and a cap for the truck to protect powerchair and lift. The monies from this back pay would have paid for that. But now, he pockets it and I am left without my powerchair until i can come up with monies to have this done. And obviously its not like i can go get a job to make a little extra money to do this.

    I am very knowledgeable about my injury and what it is going to cost. The ins. company did a life plan within my first year of being injured. Of course it was completely low balled and since then many medical things have changed. I went over this with lawyer and we decided to have another independent firm do a life car plan. Obviously this one was about 10x more expensive than the first, but it was very intensive and I accounted for everything as I had become more knowledgeable of my injury and what lies ahead for me.

    I just hate feeling that people are profiting from my misfortune, when I dont have things I need.
    Last edited by medic1; 05-16-2010 at 12:09 PM.

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