Under Maryland’s workers’ compensation law, lawyers must charge a contingency fee: a percentage of the benefits you are awarded by a judge or receive through a settlement. If you lose your workers’ comp claim, your lawyer does not get paid. (To learn more about how much you could receive in benefits, see our article on Maryland workers' comp benefits.)
Maryland sets out a specific procedure for charging attorneys’ fees in its workers’ comp law. All attorneys’ fees must be approved by the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. If your lawyer helps you recover workers’ comp benefits, he or she must file a Claimant’s Consent to Pay Attorney and Doctor form (Form H44) with the Commission, which includes:
The Commission will review this information and set a reasonable fee for your lawyer, in accordance with the fee structure described below.
Maryland establishes a maximum fee schedule for attorneys’ fees in workers’ compensation claims. Unlike most states, Maryland has different rates depending on how your case is resolved and the type of benefits awarded. Maryland’s fee structure is more complicated than most states. If you have questions about workers’ comp attorneys’ fees, contact a Maryland lawyer for help.
If you settle your workers’ comp claim with the insurance company, your lawyer’s fees vary depending on the size of the settlement.
If a judge awards you workers’ comp benefits, your lawyer’s fees vary depending on the type of benefits awarded.
A lawyer’s fee may be higher than the schedule in exceptional cases, for example, if an appeal was extraordinarily complicated or lengthy.
In addition to attorneys’ fees, you will likely have to pay for legal costs. Legal costs are expenses related to your claim, such as the cost of requesting medical records, hiring expert witnesses to testify on your behalf, and paying a court reporter to transcribe deposition testimony.
Most workers’ comp lawyers do not expect payment of your legal costs up front. Instead, they pay for them throughout your case and then deduct them from your award or settlement. Some lawyers will even agree to waive legal costs if you lose your case. However, lawyers have differing policies on legal costs. Make sure you fully understand your lawyer’s policies before you sign a fee agreement.
If your benefits are denied or reduced, you should seriously consider hiring a Maryland workers’ comp lawyer. Most appeals require detailed legal, medical, and vocational analysis in order to be successful. Most Maryland workers’ comp lawyers offer a free initial consultation, so you will have little to no upfront costs. (See our article on the challenges of handling your own workers’ comp claim to learn more.)