Rather than paying a traditional retainer in advance, workers’ compensation lawyers in Georgia receive payment through a contingency fee. Your lawyer will earn his or her legal fees by taking a reasonable percentage of your award contingent upon winning your case.
As such, you can protect your legal rights by hiring workers’ compensation lawyers in Georgia without having to pay an expensive retainer upfront. Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws also mandate how much your attorney may charge for his or her services after he or she makes a successful recovery for you.
The Percentage Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Get Paid in Georgia
Your workers’ compensation lawyer cannot charge more than 25 percent of the weekly benefits or settlement you receive under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 34-9-108. In general, attorneys do not charge less than this rate due to the amount of time and legal resources required to settle them.
Law firms may pay for expert opinion, evidence preservation, and other services if their attorneys believe it will benefit your case. If he or she does not think that a dispute will help you get more money, then he or she will let you know this opinion beforehand.
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The Insurance Company May Pay for Some of Your Attorneys’ Fees
In general, workers’ compensation does not pay for attorneys’ fees. However, the judge assigned to your case may require the insurer to pay for some of your expenses if your benefits were not paid within a statutory time frame.
You should discuss with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta, GA, the possibility of recovering attorneys’ fees if there is evidence proving that the insurance company denied your claim without reasonable legal grounds. These cases are more complex, which means that you should seek the advice of a workers’ compensation attorney if you believe that this happened to you during the workers’ compensationclaims process.
How Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Charge for Legal Costs
Aside from attorneys’ fees, there are several expenses related to the legal pursuit of equitable compensation from a work-related injury and lost wages. Typically, you do not pay for any of these costs in advance. Remember, you only pay the law firm for these items when you have a successful outcome.
Some fees include medical records requests, deposition transcriptions, expert witnesses, travel, and more. Your lawyer will deduct these expenses from your award.
If you do not win your workers’ compensationmatter, then you are not responsible for the resources that the law firm used. Before signing a letter of representation, make sure that you carefully review the terms and conditions set forth section describing attorneys’ fees.
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Other Rules That Apply
If your attorneys’ fees exceed $100, then a workers’ compensation judge must approve them in addition to all legal costs associated with negotiating or disputing your claim. Per Georgia’s State Board of Workers’ Compensation, your lawyer must complete form WC-108a when seeking approval to get paid for his or her services and expenses.
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Your Net Sum After Paying Legal Fees
It is imperative that you frankly discuss the costs of attorneys’ fees and legal costs before signing an agreement with any law firm. There are always deductions from your settlement when you hire Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers to represent your claim. How much you can expect to recover depends on the facts and circumstances of your case.
However, you may want to consider the advantages of hiring an attorney before trying to represent yourself. Insurance companies want to minimize their losses by using their interpretation of your case. Instead of working alone, an attorney will protect your rights and argue the merits of your case in an effort to acquire additional medical care or money for you.
What You Pay for When You Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Georgia
Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer in Georgia will help you protect your legal rights throughout the workers’ compensation claims process. Not all cases require legal representation, especially for more straightforward matters. However, it never hurts to run your settlement offer by a law firm prior to accepting it.
If legal representation can help you, he or she will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your work-related injuries, lost work wages, and other benefits. Rather than deal with the insurance company directly, you can communicate through your attorney while you focus on your physical recovery, and hopefully, return to work.
Your attorney will help you:
- Develop and preserve medical and financial evidence
- Fight for future lost earnings and medical costs
- Negotiate or dispute settlement agreements or awards
- Represent you during any workers’ compensation hearings
- File a workers’ compensationappeal if you do not get the benefits you deserve
- Help you navigate third-party claims to seek additional benefits
- Advise you of your legal opportunities, rights, and risks
Handle administrative aspects for compliance assurance
Your attorney may also utilize considerable resources if they benefit your claim. Typically, you do not have to pay for these in advance since your attorney works on a contingency fee arrangement. Simply put, you will have the reassurance in knowing that you are taking the most practical approach to ensure that you get adequate compensation for your losses.
Georgia Workers’ Compensation FAQ
When you have been injured in a work-related accident, you may have many questions regarding your workers’ compensation claim and how the process works. We can help.
In the hopes of helping you feel confident in your decision to work with a lawyer to recover the benefits and compensation that are rightfully yours, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Georgia workers’ compensation claim is below. If you have additional questions we did not answer here, reach out to our office for a free consultation.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Apply for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Under the law, there is no requirement that you be represented by a workers’ compensation lawyer before you apply for workers’ compensation benefits. Georgia law requires the majority of employers to provide their employees with workers’ compensation insurance protection coverage. This means you have the right to file a claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider when you are injured in a work related accident. You are under no legal obligation to have a lawyer at this time.
However, it is more common than you might think for workers’ compensation claims to be denied. There are countless reasons for these denials, but if you have a workers’ compensation lawyer on your side from the start, you can be sure that your submitted application will be complete, accurate, and have all of the necessary evidence needed to support your case. This could go a long way in helping you avoid going through a lengthy workers’ compensation appeals process.
What do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Consist of in Georgia?
When you are approved for workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia, there are several different types of benefits you may be entitled to. These include:
- Disability benefits – These will generally amount to approximately 2/3 of your average weekly salary until you are physically capable of returning to work.
- Medical expenses – The insurance company will be required to cover all of your medical expenses, equipment, and fees as they relate to your on-the-job injury.
- Vocational rehabilitation – Vocational rehabilitation benefits may be available to work injury victims who are dealing with injuries so severe they are unable to continue working in the same industry.
- Death benefits – Death benefits may be available to surviving family members of individuals who pass away from work injuries.
What Happens If Your Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits Is Denied?
Generally, if your claim for workers’ compensation benefits has been denied, you may be able to work with the insurance company to address any issues with your initial application or provide them with any additional evidence or documentation they need to get your claim approved.
However, if the insurance company remains rigid and their decision to deny your claim, you may need to file a Notice of Claim Form WC-14 to the Georgia State Board of workers’ compensation which request a hearing before the board where your attorney can argue your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers About Your Georgia Workers’ Compensation Claim
You can turn to Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for legal help when it comes to your Georgia workers’ compensation claim. Our legal team is available to discuss your legal options, review our contingency fee program, and further explain how workers’ compensation lawyers get paid in Georgia.