In Kansas, as in many other states, 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. (To learn how much you might receive if you win, see our article on workers’ comp benefits in Kansas.)
Rather than charge by the hour, lawyers in workers’ compensation cases generally take a percentage of your award or settlement (called a “contingency fee”). This means that you don’t pay your lawyer out of your own pocket, and you don’t owe any attorneys’ fees unless you win your case.
In Kansas, attorneys’ fees in workers’ comp cases must be reasonable, but cannot be more than 25% of your settlement or award. Your lawyer must submit his or her charges to the Workers’ Compensation Division of the Kansas Department of Labor for approval. In deciding whether your lawyer’s fee is reasonable, the Division will consider the following factors (among others):
Your lawyer can only take a percentage of benefits that he or she helped you secure. For example, if the insurance company is voluntarily paying you temporary total disability benefits, your lawyer should not take any portion of those benefits.
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 for these costs throughout your case and then deduct them from your settlement or award. However, you should confirm how legal costs are handled—and whether you’ll need to pay them if you lose your case—before signing a fee agreement with a lawyer. (To learn more, see our article on what items are deducted from your workers’ comp settlement or award.)