One of the questions we see on a regular basis is: how much does a workers’ comp lawyer cost in Georgia? Will he or she take most of my settlement? This leads to the following discussion about whether it’s worth it to hire a lawyer for a worker’s comp case. This article and video will address those questions and walk you through a couple of scenarios to illustration purposes. As you will see, no two cases are ever alike which is why we usually recommend that you seek at least a review, even if you do not hire legal counsel. So, let’s address the first question of how much does a workers’ comp lawyer cost in Georgia.
Lawyers in Georgia represent clients in workers’ comp cases using what is called a “contingency fee contract”. This prevents clients from paying money up front or out of pocket. In order for the attorney to take a case on a contingency basis, the attorney will want to review the case to be sure it is valid. If the case has no chance of success, neither the client nor the attorney gets paid.
Entering into a contingency agreement is a fairly easy process once the lawyer has reviewed your case. You will sign a contract which states that if there is a recovery, the attorney will be entitled to a percentage. Typically that is 25%.
Each case is unique. Some cases involve multiple injuries such as an auto accident and work related accident. Others involve the work related accident and problems with the employer. The following are some common scenarios that we see. This will provide you with an idea of the type of work we put into our cases.
Case 1 – Workers’ Comp With Employer Issues
Steven works for Acme Construction. While on the job, Steven is injured. He notifies his supervisor and sees his doctor immediately. He begins treatment. His employer says they have no job for him and if he cannot return to his current position, they have to let him go. Steven needs to contact an experienced workers’ comp lawyer for a review of his case. If he has a valid case, it would most likely be in his best interest to let an attorney handle this one. Why?
The employer has stated that if Steven cannot do the job he was hired to do, they will terminate him, however, workers’ comp laws protect Steven after he’s injured in a work related injury. The lawyer is going to need to get involved here, possibly file a hearing, maybe a deposition and fight for Steven to get his benefits. This will take time. There could be a hearing and several discovery requests and the attorney fights to get Steven’s medical bills paid and income benefits for the time he is out of work. The ultimate goal for Steven will depend on his injury, his recovery and what the employer works out with respect to his job. If the employer can accommodate Steven with a light duty job until he is healed, Steven may want to stay employed with them. If not, he may want to have his attorney look at other options. It can, and likely will, get complicated. This is why the lawyer earns a percentage. It is a way to get expert help throughout your claim without sacrificing money up front. There is a lot of work that usually goes into these cases. They are rarely “slam dunks”.
Case 2 – Workers’ Comp with An Auto Accident
Amy was on her lunch hour from work. She was running personal errands and getting her lunch. She was driving her vehicle and while she was out, she also went to pickup a large lunch and some office supplies for a business meeting at the office. As she was returning to the office, she was involved in a car accident. She did not seek any medical help on the scene although she did comment that her leg was hurting and she was stiff and sore.
After returning to the office, Amy fell and was injured while putting office supplies on a shelf in the supply closet. She told her supervisor about her fall. Because she was in so much pain, she sought treatment. Workers’ comp is holding all payments until they can determine whether her injuries were caused by the fall in the office or her auto injury during her lunch hour.
This is another fairly common scenario. Workers’ comp is going to want to see evidence that her injury is truly from her fall at the office. Is her injury to the same part of her body as the auto accident? How was she injured at the office? Did she fall off a step because she injured herself during the auto accident?
in addition, they will need to see evidence of her trip being partly work related. An experienced lawyer will need to fight to get your checks cut. This will be more than simply sending a demand letter. It’s very possible that the attorney could need to to file a hearing, sit in a deposition, compose and draft discovery requests to go to the insurance company and the employer, answer discovery requests that come from the insurance company and the employer, and have a hearing on the matter to get your income benefits. That’s not something that happens every time, but that is a possibility.
To fully determine the workers’ comp lawyer cost in Georgia, we also need to look at additional expenses. Expenses are things like postage. When there are legal proceedings, there are a number of mailings that must be sent to comply with the law. These must be sent certified mail to ensure that the person receives it. Those are expenses that are not included in the attorneys fees. These fees are provided in an itemized agreement. In fact, the Workers Comp Board requires that if charges are over $150.00 they are to be itemized. So the answer to how much does a workers’ comp lawyer cost in Georgia is: the fees (25%) and then any cost associated with that.
If you have a case involving a Georgia work related injury, auto related injury or a combination, contact us. Ty has unique experience to handle your case. He knows the law, the courts and understands the process to work with employers and insurance companies for a resolution. He can also review your case before taking it to be sure you have a solid case and that you do not incur any unnecessary time or expense.