FAQs: Attorneys fees, your benefits

How are attorney’s fees paid?

YOUR INITIAL CONSULTATION IS FREE!!! And, Kim and Kyle’s fee will be paid only after a resolution of your case, and then it is deducted as a percentage (generally 15%) of the settlement or amount of Partial Permanent Disability benefits payable to you! You need not advance any funds for fees or costs to prosecute your claim. All attorney’s fee request must be reviewed by a judge, found to be reasonable, and approved. Regardless of when an attorney is retained, there is neither an increase nor reduction in total fees.

Insurance companies will often suggest that you don’t need an attorney to get benefits, and remind you, correctly, that an attorney’s fees are deducted from your award. The interest of any insurance company is to minimize any award to be paid to you. They may try to dissuade you from obtaining legal counsel because an attorney will often produce more in benefits than their charged fee. The fee is deducted from the last payment to be made to you. The attorney’s fee is deducted from your award, and you need not pay for any fees or costs “up front.”

What benefits are payable under a workers’ compensation claim?

This section deals only with standard injury claims, without reference to the “ancillary” claim types noted above. While the benefit packages are limited, you are still entitled to benefits even if the injury was your fault. And as of February, 2009, the benefit package could be more than in the past because of new and significant WCAB decisions—case decisions the insurance companies will not recognize until your attorney forces the issue.

A standard injury claim will entitle you to the following benefits:

  • Medical care to cure or relieve you from the effects of the injury, now and indefinitely into the future, and whether or not you keep your job
  • ALL Mileage and Travel Expenses incurred in connection with treatment, obtaining prescriptions, traveling to a deposition or to medical evaluations
  • If you can’t work at your usual job, and your employer can’t or won’t offer you a lighter or modified job paying what you were making before you got hurt, you should receive weekly Temporary Disability payments based on your actual wage loss calculated on the basis of all earnings from all sources. Payment of Temporary Disability is usually limited to 104 weeks
  • Once your condition has stabilized, and if there are going to be permanent or long term medical restrictions, a limited earning capacity or other medical problems restricting your strength or ability to move, you should receive a“Partial Permanent Disability” award paid weekly.
  • If you are totally or almost totally disabled from the labor market, you may be eligible for a very large “Total Permanent Disability” award. (You may also qualify for Social Security Disability. This benefit is available to anyone who has an injury, condition or disability, or a combination of these that has severely impacted your ability to work.)

If you cannot return to your old job because of the long term effects of the injury, you may receive assistance in retraining or further education to help you back into the job market AND a “sympathy” check for the State for $5000.

The costs of needed expert opinions to prove your case or to obtain medical evaluations and services to support your case should be paid for by your employer or their insurance.

Under the worst circumstances, if death results or is hastened because of a work related injury or condition, your family and dependents could receive a significant death benefit award

All these benefits must be provided by your employer or its insurer when an employee has suffered a work related injury, and if they unreasonably withhold providing you with any of them, substantial penalties can be assessed and paid to you.