Arkansas workers’ comp lawyers charge a contingency fee: a percentage of your award or settlement. You don’t have to pay fees out-of-pocket. And, if you lose, you don’t have to pay attorneys’ fees at all. (To learn more about how much compensation you could receive, see our article on Arkansas workers’ comp benefits.)
In Arkansas, the maximum contingency fee a lawyer can charge is 25% of your award or settlement. However, before taking a fee, your lawyer must get approval from the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission. The Commission considers a series of factors in determining a reasonable fee, including the nature, complexity, and length of your claim. If your workers’ comp claim is very simple, it may award less than a 25% fee.
Additionally, attorneys cannot charge fees on medical benefits or any other benefits that the insurance company pays voluntarily without dispute.
If you receive an award or a settlement after the insurance company’s denial of benefits, the insurance company must pay 50% of your attorneys’ fees. You are responsible for the remaining fees, which are deducted from your award of benefits.
Your lawyer can also receive additional fees if a workers’ comp judge denies your benefits, but you receive an award after an additional appeal. These fees vary, depending on who approves your benefits, including up to:
The insurance company must pay 50% of these additional fees, and you are responsible for the remaining fees.
Legal costs are expenses related to your claim, such as the cost of ordering medical records, hiring expert witnesses, and transcribing deposition testimony. You typically are financially responsible for these costs.
Thankfully, many workers’ comp lawyers do not require upfront payment of legal costs. Instead, they pay these costs during your case and deduct them from your award or settlement. And, many lawyers will not charge you for legal costs if you lose your claim. However, not all lawyers are willing to advance or waive legal costs. Make sure you understand the lawyer’s legal cost policy before you sign a fee agreement.
If the insurance company denies your workers’ comp benefits, you should consider hiring a lawyer. Workers’ comp appeals require detailed knowledge of workers’ comp laws, strategic decision making, and negotiation skills. It can be difficult for injured workers to evaluate their claims and present strong appeals on their own.
Most Arkansas workers’ comp lawyers offer a free initial consultation. And, because of the rules mentioned above, you’ll typically have few upfront costs. (See our article on the challenges of handling your own workers’ comp claim for more information.)