Posted: July 6, 2013
If you are hurt on the job in Cincinnati Ohio give strong consideration to hiring a lawyer. But beware, all Ohio workers compensation lawyers do not charge the same way. Although most will give a free consultation, the way they charge for representing your Ohio workers compensation claim can vary drastically. One choice could cost you a lot more than the other choice. Before I discuss the two different types of workers compensation fee agreement I am familiar with, it is important to consider whether you need a lawyer. In my mind, for any serious injury you should consider it. The Ohio system is stingy at best and even though you may have an assigned worker in a State fund claim, they are not working for you. And self insured claims are worse. You do not even have a worker and you may not even have a valid workers compensation claim number.
Common Attorney Fees for Ohio Workers Hurt on the Job
Straight Contingency Fee
There are two types of workers compenation attorney fee contracts I am familiar with. One is the straight contingent fee contract. This generally calls for a 1/3 fee out of past due temporary total disability benfits. No fee is owed out of ongoing benefits that are not a past accrued. There is generally a 1/3 or more fee out of any permanent partial award, and a 1/3 fee out of accrued wage loss. Finally if there is a settlement there is a 1/3 fee. If a person is declared permanently and totally disabled there can be a 1/3 fee from what is owed and a $10,000 fee payable out of future benefits. (Expenses advanced by a lawyer are normally recovered out of any award. )
Contingency Fee Plus Hourly Rate or Hearing Attendance Fee
The second type of fee I see encompasses all of the above fees included in a straight contingency fee plus an hourly fee. The hourly fee comes into play when an attorney has to attend a hearing that does not have anything to do with the receipt of compensation ( money benfits). For example, the doctor wants to give you a certain treatment, but the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation denies it or your employer disputes it. This is a situation where there could be two hearings: one in front of a district hearing officer and one in front of a staff hearing officer. Another common situation is the BWC wants to cut off your medication. Again there may be two hearings on this. The attorney willl either charge an hourly rate for this or a lump sum for attending and preparing each hearing.
Why Pay More When You Could Pay a Ohio Workers Compensation Lawyer Less
So why would you want to pay a lawyer more when you could pay the lawyer less? I don't know unless you did not know any better, or your money was paying to hire a much better lawyer. I know some very good lawyers, in my opinion, that only charge a contingency fee plus expenses. So in my mind there is no good reason to hire a lawyer that will cost you more.
Could This All Change
I have been doing workers compensation claims as an Ohio lawyer for over 30 years. The system has changed drastically and not in favor of workers. Compensation awards are less, especially permanent partial awards, and more work is involved because of the Ohio Workers compensations system and the efforts of politicians to erode workers rights and benefits. It is difficult for a workers compensation lawyer to come out much ahead on a straight contingency fee when so many battles have to be fought that were never fought before.
However , there are enough "old school" lawyers out there, that came up on a straight contingency fee, that stay with it. They know that workers are already spread so financially thin, that extra added attorney's fees can make the difference to injured workers between paying the rent or not. My Ohio workers' compensation fee agreement calls for a contingency fee and not an hourly rate or an attendance fee.
Call me today locally in Cincinnati for a free consulation to discuss whether I can help you with your workers compensation claim. 513-621-2345