How Do Workers’ Compensation Lawyers and Doctors Get Paid?
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How Do Workers’ Compensation Lawyers and Doctors Get Paid?

You need to find a lawyer to help you after a work injury, but you are worried about paying an hourly rate. You need medical care because of your injury, but you cannot afford to pay doctors’ bills. You are stuck between a rock and a hard place, and you do not know how to pay for the help you need. Fortunately, the workers’ compensation system is set up to help employees like you.

Lawyers’ Bills

Workers’ compensation lawyers in Minnesota usually charge a contingency fee. Contingency means that you pay nothing unless a specific event happens: usually a recovery of benefits or a settlement. You do not pay an hourly rate or a flat fee to the lawyer for his or her time. The payment comes out of the total benefits award or settlement amount.

Minnesota law caps lawyers’ contingency fees at a maximum of 20% of the first $130,000 awarded, or $26,000. This applies to injuries from October 2013 onward. For injuries before October 2013, lawyers could receive 25% of the first $4,000 and 20% of the next $60,000, up to $13,000 related to one injury. Any higher fees must be approved by the workers’ compensation judge. (See Minn. Stat. § 176.081, subd. 1.) In addition, attorneys have maximum fee amounts for services such as getting you a change of doctor or QRC, or getting you specific medical or rehabilitation benefits. Attorneys cannot earn more than $26,000 on a case in most situations.

Again, this money does not come out of your pocket up front; it comes from any benefits award or settlement in your case. The fee earned depends on the amount of benefits or amount of settlement your attorney gets you.

Doctors’ Bills

If the workers’ compensation insurance company that covers your employer denies your initial claim, you may need to pay some medical bills. You should always check with your health insurance to see how much will be covered and how much you will pay out of pocket. Then, seek out a lawyer to help you fight the claim denial.

If the insurance company awards benefits or if you fight a denial and win, it will pay your medical bills reasonably related to your injury. This includes emergency care, follow-up appointments, surgery, prescriptions, medical devices, and more. Workers’ compensation is supposed to help you pay doctors’ bills arising from your injury.

Insurers may deny benefits for particular types of treatment, such as elective surgeries or treatments they deem unnecessary. If you are facing denial of a specific type of treatment, talk to your treating physician and an attorney for help showing that the treatment is reasonable under the circumstances. Above all, do not let the fear of legal or medical bills scare you away from pursuing a workers’ comp case.

Are you looking for a lawyer to represent you in a workers’ compensation case? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.