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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default Calculation of Workers Comp Attorney Fees

    Facts
    1. WC recd. an order telling them what they were to pay me weekly while I was out with injury.
    2. WC filed something disputing the amount. They only paid me the amount "they" believed they should pay weekly.
    3. I got a WC lawyer. He said he would make sure they paid me the correct amount. He never told me what his fee would be and I was under the impression he was paid by WC.
    4. The lawyer had personal problems and persuaded me to give him several months to deal with this problem. I did.
    5. The lawyer's need for time dragged on...for 15 months.
    6. Today we reached an out of court settlement with the insurance company.
    7. My lawyer presented me, for the very first time, a document stating that he was entitled to 10% of the amount of back pay that was owed to me.

    I was never concerned about how long it took to get the weekly rate settled, because I knew they had to give me the back pay once it did get settled. Had I known that each week that passed entitled my lawyer to 10% of MY WAGES, I would have insisted that it be settled immediately. I have been under the impression that the lawyer is paid through some state program associated with WC.

    Please advise! All information is much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    17,938

    Default Re: Atty Fees

    When you retain the services of an atty, YOU pay the fee...out of benefits recovered through litigation/court order, or PPD indemnity benefits due.

    You must be given full disclosure, look at your agreement, you signed it.
    10% is cheap for an atty fee to handle this for you. That you allowed him 15 months to take care of "personal issues" is between you and him... not a comp issue. He is still due the fee on any back due benefits recovered for you.
    Very few instances where the carrier or any other party would be liable for your atty fees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Atty Fees

    Quote Quoting BvIA View Post
    When you retain the services of an atty, YOU pay the fee...out of benefits recovered through litigation/court order, or PPD indemnity benefits due.

    You must be given full disclosure, look at your agreement, you signed it.
    10% is cheap for an atty fee to handle this for you. That you allowed him 15 months to take care of "personal issues" is between you and him... not a comp issue. He is still due the fee on any back due benefits recovered for you.
    Very few instances where the carrier or any other party would be liable for your atty fees.
    This was TTD (I looked up the abbreviations, lol). Does your post still apply?

    - - - Updated - - -

    So then, if we had forced WC to pay the correct weekly amount immediately, the back pay they owed would have been less than $1,000. In that case the atty would only have recd. $100 for his trouble?

    By waiting all this time, he fee is now $1,500, for the same work?

    If that is correct I guess I'm going to have a talk with him about the waiting period.
    Last edited by Susanharbison; 02-13-2013 at 09:23 AM. Reason: Changed TPD to TTD

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    17,938

    Default Re: Atty Fees

    Back due TTD recovered by your atty is subject to a fee. The atty went to court to get it for you. TTD paid forward would generally not be subject to fees.

    Why did you wait all this time to demand payment of retro TTD benefits?
    Yes...you should have a discussion with your atty and understand clearly what fees are actually due.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Atty Fees

    Quote Quoting BvIA View Post
    Back due TTD recovered by your atty is subject to a fee. The atty went to court to get it for you. TTD paid forward would generally not be subject to fees.

    Why did you wait all this time to demand payment of retro TTD benefits?
    Yes...you should have a discussion with your atty and understand clearly what fees are actually due.
    I waited all this time because the atty had a terminally ill family member and he was unable to keep up with his work while that horror played out. Then it was some time to grieve, then it was the atty himself becoming ill. Finally, he retired and turned my case over to someone else in his firm. The new guy took several months to become familiar with the case.

    I never would have waited if I'd known the back pay would have 10% taken out of it! The first I heard of that fact was today, ten minutes before the hearing!

    Suppose I had gone to court two weeks after the short payments came and the only back pay due at that time was a few hundred dollars. Do you mean that the atty's fee to recover that would have only been $30? That makes no sense!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    831 East Morehead St., Ste 355, Charlotte, NC 28202
    Posts
    3,812

    Default Re: Atty Fees

    By all means, you should be able to accept the benefits of the lawyer's work and not ever have to pay him a fair fee for getting those benefits for you. You are apparently keeping 90% of what he obtained for you.

    Check your fee contract with him. It probably spells all this out in fairly clear language.

    But seriously, the lawyer could not unilaterally fix your problem. It required cooperation by the carrier or a court order to fix your problem. If you would have ended up litigating this, it may have taken 24 months or longer. And in many states, you would be paying a (higher percentage) fee going forward out of your checks even if he had solved the problem in the first month for you and taken a "$100" fee out of the accrued arreage at that time.

    I don't know what the law allows in your state for attorney's fees, but here in NC, if we get the compensation rate increased, we typically get 25% of the increase for the life of the case. That fee is considered to be earned for the life of the case. Of course, the client is getting 75% of the benefit of that legal work for the life of the case, too, so the client still comes out ahead.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney and Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law

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