How Much Does a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Cost in District of Columbia?

Learn whether you can afford to hire a lawyer in your workers' comp case.

In the District of Columbia, workers’ comp lawyers are paid only if you win your case. This means that your lawyer is successful either in getting the insurance company to pay you benefits or in preventing the insurance company from stopping your benefits. The amount your lawyer receives depends on his or her qualifications and the amount of time spent on your case. (To learn how much you might receive if you win, see our article on workers’ comp benefits in the District of Columbia.)

How Attorneys’ Fees Are Determined in D.C.

In D.C., attorneys’ fees in workers’ compensation cases must be reasonable and approved by the Department of Employment Services (DOES), the state agency that administers the workers’ comp program. In determining whether a fee is reasonable, the DOES will consider several factors, including:

  • how much time your lawyer spent providing legal services on your case
  • the complexity of your case
  • your lawyer’s skill in representing you
  • how much lawyers customarily charge in your area, and
  • the amount of benefits your lawyer secured for you.

Attorneys’ fees are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Maximum Attorneys’ Fees in D.C.

D.C. sets maximum hourly rates that workers’ compensation attorneys can charge for their services, depending on their level of experience. The DOES cannot approve a fee that is higher than these amounts. As of July 1, 2016, the hourly schedule is as follows:

  • two years’ experience or less: $200 per hour
  • above two years to five years’ experience: $240 per hour
  • above five years to ten years’ experience: $260 per hour
  • above ten years to twenty years’ experience: $280 per hour, and
  • more than twenty years’ experience: $310 per hour.

However, the lawyer’s total fee cannot be more than 20% of your settlement or award.

Legal Costs

Your lawyer’s fee does not include any legal costs incurred to pursue your case, such as filing fees, deposition fees, expert witness fees, and copy fees. Many lawyers will pay these costs throughout your case and then deduct them from your settlement or award. If you lose your case, you might need to pay for certain expenses, depending on your agreement with your lawyer. (To learn more, see our article on what items are deducted from your workers’ comp settlement or award.)

Free Consultations

Most workers’ comp attorneys in D.C. will meet with workers for a free consultation before deciding to take on a case. To learn more, see our page on finding and hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer.

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