In Michigan, as in many other states, workers’ comp lawyers are paid only if you win your case. In order to collect a fee, your lawyer must be successful in getting the insurance company to pay you workers’ comp benefits. (To learn how much you might receive, see our article on workers’ comp benefits in Michigan.)
Michigan workers’ comp attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that they don’t charge you for their services up front. Instead, they take a percentage of the benefits that they are able to secure for you. Michigan caps contingency fees in workers’ comp cases, depending on when and how your case is resolved.
Most workers’ compensation cases are settled before a hearing. In this scenario, your lawyer can receive 15% of the first $25,000 of your settlement and 10% of the rest. In other scenarios, the following maximum fees apply:
Attorneys’ fees must be approved by a workers’ comp judge at the end of your case. If you disagree with the judge’s decision you can request review by the director of the Michigan Workers’ Compensation Agency and then the appellate commission.
Your lawyer’s fee does not include any legal costs incurred to pursue your case. For example, lawyers often need to pay for medical examinations, testimony from doctors, and court reporter fees for depositions. Many lawyers will pay these costs throughout your case and then deduct them from your settlement or award. In Michigan, these costs are deducted before your lawyer’s fee is calculated. (To learn more, see our article on what items are deducted from your workers’ comp settlement or award.)
Most workers’ comp attorneys in Michigan 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.