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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    4

    Default Form Oc 400- Attorney's Fees

    Hello,
    It was discussed during the initial free consultation with the attorney that his fees would be equal to 15% from an award. As I’ve been told, each time the attorney goes to court and wins an award, he gets paid 15% from the first check. I have not received any awards yet, but, I received Form OC 400.1 to sign so that the attorney could get a $1,200 from my award. The document states that the lawyer’s office had already spent 20 hours on my case. Out of these 20 hours, more than 5 hours had been spent on reviewing my case even before the first consultation took place. The free consultation was listed as a 2-hour work, and new intake was shown as done 3 times. I’ve had this attorney for two months and I wonder if I am going to get such fee approval requests every two months even before knowing the amount of the award won. Is this a common practice for WC lawyers? Shouldn’t they first secure an award and get their fee from that amount? Are they going to be paid $1,200 and also 15% from the award? And what is meant by 15% from the first check? The response from the lawyer was not very comprehensive and I would greatly appreciate your input and clarification. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 1971
    Posts
    5,089

    Default Re: Form Oc 400- Attorney's Fees

    Brook
    Are they going to be paid $1,200 and also 15% from the award?
    The attorney's entitled to 15% of any benefit obtained on your behalf in litigation, nothing more.
    You have the right to object to the fees if you think they're excessive, the board will review them for accuracy.

    Shouldn’t they first secure an award and get their fee from that amount?
    Yes, it says on that form the fee wil be paid from the award.

    APPLICATION FOR A FEE BY CLAIMANT'S ATTORNEY OR LICENSED REPRESENTATIVE
    "If a fee is approved by the Workers' Compensation Board, it will be deducted from your award (except in WCL § 120
    discrimination claims) and paid directly to your attorney/licensed representative by the insurance carrier or employer"
    http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/forms/oc400-1.pdf

    Tony
    Moderator Responses are based on my personal bias, experience and research - They do not represent the views of the admin nor may be accepted in the legal community, always consult an attorney.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    4

    Default Re: Form Oc 400- Attorney's Fees

    Thank you for your response, Tony. So, if I understood correctly, it should be 15% from each award won. Shouldn't the attorney specify 15% on Form OC 400.1 instead of writing $1,200? Can this amount turn out to be more than 15% of the award? I don't feel comfortable about agreeing to $1,200 without knowing how much the award will be.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 1971
    Posts
    5,089

    Default Re: Form Oc 400- Attorney's Fees

    Quote Quoting Brook View Post
    Thank you for your response, Tony. So, if I understood correctly, it should be 15% from each award won. Shouldn't the attorney specify 15% on Form OC 400.1 instead of writing $1,200? Can this amount turn out to be more than 15% of the award? I don't feel comfortable about agreeing to $1,200 without knowing how much the award will be.
    Without seeing the form and knowing the facts of your claim it's impossible to answer.
    At the end of the day, the board will keep the attorney honest, they wont allow him to jack you.

    You need to talk to that lawyer and have him explain things or object to the fees pending clarification - don't sign unless he explains. (be sure to warn him of your intentions if he doesn't explain the fees)
    Check the box "I object to the fee being requested for the following reasons:" - then you can say pending clarification from my attorney for the fees being charged.
    See the bottom of that form for instructions.

    If you are objecting to the fee being requested by your attorney/licensed representative, a copy of this objection must be sent to your attorney/licensed representative, the insurance carrier and to the Workers' Compensation Board by: 1) mail at PO Box 5205, Binghamton, NY 13902-5205; or 2) fax at 877-533-0337; or 3) email at wcbclaimsfiling@wcb.ny.gov. If a decision awarding the fee has already been issued, you may appeal by filing a written objection within 30 days of the date of the decision.
    http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/forms/oc400-1.pdf

    Tony
    Moderator Responses are based on my personal bias, experience and research - They do not represent the views of the admin nor may be accepted in the legal community, always consult an attorney.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Form Oc 400- Attorney's Fees

    Thank you, Tony. As I had previously mentioned, it was written that 5 (!) hours had been spent on reviewing my case before the first consultation with the lawyer, while the free consultation was presented as a 2-hour work. Can it be considered free if you pay for it from your award? And say, I had a free consultation with a couple of lawyers and then retained one of them. As is stated on all websites, the initial WC consultation is non-binding and non-obligatory, so can they charge you for something that was said to be free? I don't want to look cheap and I totally understand that everybody deserves to be paid for his/her work, but it looks ridiculous that someone would spend 5 hours looking through the basic information of the intake form filled in 15 minutes at the most. Is it a common practice among WC lawyers to charge for this and the first consultation from the award? Does it look like a red flag to you?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 1971
    Posts
    5,089

    Default Re: Form Oc 400- Attorney's Fees

    Does it look like a red flag to you?
    Possibly but like I said, I wont comment on a record I haven't seen - I will say $1,200 doesn't seem to be an excessive fee.

    on all websites, the initial WC consultation is non-binding and non-obligatory, so can they charge you for something that was said to be free?
    The initial consultation is free, that means you wont be charged if you don't retain - if you retain, the follow up isn't.

    it looks ridiculous that someone would spend 5 hours looking through the basic information of the intake form filled in 15 minutes at the most.
    The info you provided in that 15 minutes needs to be reviewed and verified, it's not like the lawyer does a quick read through and files the claim.
    I could write "review all tax records for the last ten years" in 10 seconds, it could take months to accomplish.
    It takes time to review and verify medical records, employer reports other relevant info - five hours isn't out of range at all, depending on the facts of your claim it could take days.

    If you feel wronged, let the board know it so the charges can be reviewed, they wont allow the attorney to jack you around.

    Tony
    Moderator Responses are based on my personal bias, experience and research - They do not represent the views of the admin nor may be accepted in the legal community, always consult an attorney.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Form Oc 400- Attorney's Fees

    Thanks, Tony, your help is much appreciated!

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