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Hiring an Attorney for Your Worker’s Compensation Dispute

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Should I hire an attorney?

It is your right to either represent yourself in a worker’s compensation dispute or to hire an attorney. If an Application for Adjustment of Claim (Form 29109) is filed with the Board in your case, then by law, your employer must hire an attorney. Thus, it is often advisable, although not required, that the injured worker be represented as well.

When deciding whether you want to involve an attorney, keep in mind that Indiana’s worker’s compensation laws are written in a way which tend to favor the employer as opposed to the injured employee.

How much does it cost to hire a worker’s compensation attorney?

A free legal consultation with an attorney experienced in the Indiana worker’s compensation system may help you to better determine whether your rights are being protected and whether legal representation is needed at that time.

Attorney fees are limited by the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act. According to the law, attorneys can charge $200.00 up front, as well as a percentage of any recovery received in a worker’s compensation case. Attorneys may be willing to waive the upfront fee until the case is settled. The current recovery fee percentage is 20% of the first $50,000 and 15% of any remaining amount.

Example:

Deborah and her attorney settled her worker’s compensation case for $60,000. Since the attorney agreed to waive the upfront fee of $200 until the case was resolved, a breakdown of attorney’s fees includes $200, plus 20% of $50,000, plus 15% of the remaining $10,000.

Amount to Attorney: $200 + (.20 x $50,000) + (.15 x $10,000) = $11,700

Amount to Deborah: $60,000 – $11,700 = $48,300

At the end of the case, you may also be asked to pay for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the attorney for items such as medical records, postage, long distance phone calls, appointments with specialists, and so forth. These expenses were not included in the above example.

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