After a workplace injury, you likely have a lot of worries. Near the top of the list, along with your health, is finances. You need to figure out how to pay your bills, provide for yourself and loved ones, and get medical care. These potential expenses can be a factor when considering whether to hire an attorney to help with your workers’ compensation case.
In reality, however, the cost of an attorney should maybe be one of the last things on your mind. That’s because Maryland has a law meant to protect individuals going through the workers’ compensation process from paying exorbitant attorneys fees.
The commission sets attorneys fees
Under Maryland law, a person cannot outright charge or collect a fee for legal services tied to a workers’ compensation claim. As the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission says, you shouldn’t pay anyone to help with your claim from the outset. That’s not how it works.
Instead, it’s up to the commission to set attorneys fees.
If a case is successful and you receive an award, the attorneys fees will be taken from that total. In addition, you won’t directly pay the lawyer – the employer or insurance company will send them the money.
Generally, if your case is unsuccessful, the attorney won’t receive anything.
How does the commission decide on fees?
State law dictates the amount the commission can choose for attorneys fees in a case. The fee can depend on the severity of the injury, the type of award and whether the case ended in a settlement.
It’s a bit of a complicated formula, but generally, the fee is based on a percentage of the total award (usually 20% at the most, but frequently less). It is also capped and can not go above a certain amount. In this way, the law helps protect those people who are going through a difficult time after a work injury and just trying to get back on their feet.
If you were injured at work and weighing whether to file a workers’ compensation claim, there is probably a lot on your mind. While there are certainly many factors to think about, coming up with the money to pay an attorney doesn’t need to be one of them.