The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) reports that 21,300 Minnesota employees received worker’s compensation indemnity benefits in 2017. Of course, that number only reflects approved claims, and does not account for the thousands of Minnesotans who were turned down for payments.
Many of those who were turned down could have benefited from hiring an attorney. However, the reason many people do not hire a lawyer is because they worry over how expensive this could be.
How much does it cost to hire a worker’s compensation attorney in Minnesota? If you too are asking this question, you may be surprised to learn just how affordable a worker’s comp lawyer can be.
Fee Limits Established by Law
The Minnesota Legislature establishes limits on attorney’s fees in worker’s compensation cases. They update the amount of these fees from time to time based on inflation.
The most recent guidelines were established in 2013, and apply to injuries sustained on or after October 1, 2013. They allow for fees of no more than 20 percent of the first $130,000, with a cumulative maximum of $26,000 for a single injury.
Requirements for Charging a Fee
Section 176.081 of the Minnesota Statutes spells out the conditions under which a worker’s compensation attorney may charge a fee. These include:
- Having a signed retainer agreement
- Providing the client with a notice outlining the maximum fee that he or she may charge
This section further states that in order to receive payment, a counselor must “file a statement of attorney fees with the commissioner or compensation judge before whom the matter was heard.” The lawyer must also submit the signed retainer agreement at the same time.
How are Attorneys Paid?
A lawyer will provide the employer, insurance company, or other defendant a written notice concerning claims for legal services. In turn, this claim is then considered a lien against the amount payable. Accordingly, most Minnesota worker’s compensation cases are performed on a contingency basis, with no money required up front.
Should I Hire a Minnesota Worker’s Compensation Lawyer?
You may be wondering if you should hire a worker’s compensation attorney to represent you. Many of our Rochester, MN clients file their own claims and are very successful at doing so. This is normally the case when injuries are only rather minor and the employer has partnered with a reputable insurance company.
Others could use some assistance, such as when:
- You have suffered a very serious injury resulting in amputation, blindness, paralysis or another type of permanent disability.
- Your employer and/or insurance company has a history of denying claims.
- You fear retaliation because you have reported an accident.
- You have already filed a worker’s compensation claim but have been denied benefits.
Safeguard against Employer Retaliation
Most employers handle worker’s compensation claims in a highly ethical manner. Even so, there are those who retaliate against their employees for filing such a claim.
In many cases, having a lawyer on your side is enough to stop the retaliation from occurring. Most employers would rather not pick on someone when they know they have an attorney who will stand up for them.
When it doesn’t stop, you could have grounds for a civil lawsuit under Section 176.82 of the Minnesota Statutes. You’ll also have gathered much of the information needed for such a lawsuit, and can therefore streamline the process.
Preparing for an Appeal
Worker’s compensation claims are often denied initially. Fortunately, the majority of denials are overturned upon appeal. An appeal takes place in front of the Minnesota Worker’s Compensation Court of Appeals, and can involve a hearing in front of a panel of three to five judges.
If you are facing an appeal, you have only one chance to get things right. Don’t go it alone when you can trust the experienced lawyers at Patterson Dahlberg to assist you.
Other Benefits to Hiring an Attorney
A worker’s compensation lawyer can be an extra set of eyes that can look over your paperwork and ensure that everything is in order. In turn, this can improve the odds that your claim will be approved the first time.
On-the-job injuries can sometimes result in permanent disability or disfigurement. These cases are often more expensive and complex, in which case the insurance company may fight harder than usual to keep from paying. They often change their mind when a client is represented by an attorney.
If you are also eligible for disability benefits, they could be lowered if your worker’s compensation settlement is not structured properly. An attorney can advise you in this matter so that you are able to maximize both types of benefits.
Many people accept a lower settlement because they are not really sure what constitutes a fair one. A lawyer can help you determine if an offer is indeed reasonable under the circumstances.
Filing a worker’s compensation claim is typically a once-in-a-lifetime event. Consequently, many people feel nervous about the prospect of doing so. An experienced lawyer can alleviate much of the stress that is associated with this endeavor.
Reasons to Choose Patterson Dahlberg
When choosing a worker’s compensation lawyer, you want someone who is knowledgeable and has your best interests in mind. Here at Patterson Dahlberg, we are seasoned worker’s compensation attorneys who know the ins and outs of Minnesota law.
We are also highly skilled personal injury attorneys who have recovered more than $120,000,000 for our Minnesota clients over the years. Should you need to file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to your worker’s compensation claim, you will find we are well qualified to represent you.
Serving Minnesota Workers Since 2009
The decision to go with a worker’s compensation attorney can be a game changer. If you are struggling to receive benefits, perhaps it is time to consider hiring us.
We are always happy to put our years of experience to work helping those in Rochester, Douglas, Byron, and other nearby cities in Minnesota. Please contact us if you have suffered a workplace injury would like to increase the odds of a successful claim.