In Massachusetts, 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. The amount your lawyer receives, and how it’s paid, depends on how your case is resolved. (To learn how much you might receive if you win, see our article on workers’ comp benefits in Massachusetts.)
If your case is resolved through a settlement with the insurance company, your lawyer will receive a percentage of your settlement funds (called a “contingency fee”). The contingency fee cannot be more than the following:
If you win your case in any other way—including by an award after a workers’ comp hearing—the insurance company must pay your lawyer’s fees. These are flat fees established by Massachusetts workers’ compensation law. The fees generally range from $806.78 to $5,647.43, depending on several factors, including how the insurance company disputed your claim and whether you had a workers’ comp hearing. In some cases, the insurance company can reduce your workers’ comp payments for a period of time to offset a portion of your lawyer’s fees.
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. If you win your case, the insurance company is responsible for paying your legal costs. Many lawyers will pay these costs throughout your case and then seek reimbursement from the insurance company. 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.)
Most workers’ comp attorneys in Massachusetts 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.