The very short answer is yes, everyone can afford a lawyer for workers’ compensation, and here is why: Attorneys in a work comp case in all 50 states of the US work on what is called a “contingency fee” agreement. This means that there is no hourly cost to have an attorney for your work comp case. Some areas of the law like corporate law or divorce law have lawyers that work on an hourly fee, so the longer your case takes, the more it costs. Workers’ compensation lawyers instead work for a percentage of the final value of your case in court or in a settlement before court (in Colorado, the fee is 20%).
This means a few different things for you as a client. First of all, it means that workers’ comp lawyers are highly motivated to get you the maximum possible amount of money owed to you, no matter what. Getting hurt at work is not a “get rich quick scheme,” once a case is over or settled in court, the money you get is likely going to just be enough to cover your medical costs, lost wages, and some possible compensation for other hardships you experienced during your injury. This may seem like a lot of money at once, however it is all for a purpose. People do not walk away from injury cases an instant millionaire living the high life, like some people would lead you to believe. With that said, the insurance company is incentivized to reduce your benefits as much as possible to keep their costs down. A workers’ comp lawyer is motivated to get you the money you deserve for your pain because a higher coverage payout for you also means better pay for our success.
In addition, this pay structure means you do not have to spend your money and time during a difficult process paying your attorney while you also pay for medical bills, doctor’s trips, and other unexpected expenses. A contingency fee is only paid once your case is settled or decided upon in court. The vast majority of clients will settle out of court, which becomes a negotiation about what your case likely would have been worth if it had gone to trial. These negotiations require a skilled communicator who knows the tactics that insurance lawyers will use to try and reduce the cost of your case to the insurance company. Your lawyer only gets paid when your case is done, so we are also incentivized to resolve things as quickly as possible, not to sit on your case for months or years with no movement.
Finally, this structure also means that lawyers know what things can affect your case and can help you stop a nurse case manager from attending your doctor’s appointments, ensure your wages were calculated correctly with overtime and other bonuses, and prevent many more common tactics that are used to reduce the value of your case or invade your privacy to obtain information.
The reality is that having a lawyer early in your injury case will likely make a huge difference in the value of your case and does not really cost you anything. Especially because most lawyers (myself included) will do a free consultation with you over the phone, by email, or in person to tell you what you can expect in your case. If you would like to talk to someone about your case, you can call me at 303-792-5595 or submit a request using the button on the right side of the page to have someone from our office contact you.