Some injured workers delay in hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer because they incorrectly think they can’t afford the attorneys’ fees. However, New Hampshire workers’ comp lawyers charge contingency fees, which means you pay your lawyer a percentage of your settlement or award at the end of your case. If you lose, you do not pay your lawyer’s fees. (To learn more about how much you could receive, see our article on New Hampshire workers’ comp benefits.)
In New Hampshire, a workers’ comp lawyer cannot charge more than 20% of your award or settlement. Before you pay attorneys’ fees, the New Hampshire Workers’ Compensation Division must also approve the fee amount. When evaluating fees, the division considers:
While most workers’ comp lawyers charge the maximum 20% fee, a lawyer might agree to a reduced fee if your case is simpler than most. Likewise, the division may award a lower fee in simple claims. (Read our article about free or reduced legal fees in workers’ comp cases for more information.)
In addition to attorneys’ fees, you are typically responsible for legal costs. Legal costs are expenses related to your claim, including the cost to order medical records, hire expert witnesses, and transcribe deposition testimony. While most lawyers try to keep legal costs as low as possible, they can range from a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. (Very complicated claims typically involve higher costs.)
Thankfully, most workers’ comp lawyers will not require upfront payment of your legal costs. Instead, they pay these costs as they come up and deduct them from your award or settlement. Many lawyers will also agree to waive legal costs if you lose your claim. However, not all lawyers are willing to advance or waive legal costs. Make sure you understand the lawyer’s cost policies before you sign a fee agreement.
Most New Hampshire workers’ comp lawyers offer a free initial consultation. If you are injured on the job and your benefits are denied, you should seriously consider hiring a New Hampshire workers’ comp lawyer. Typically, you will have little to no upfront costs because of the rules mentioned above.
Most workers’ comp appeals require a complicated legal, medical, and vocational analysis. Without the help of a lawyer, you might make costly mistakes and receive far less in benefits than you’re owed. A skilled workers’ comp lawyer can ensure that your claim is properly filed and presented to the appeals board. (See our article on the challenges of handling your own workers’ comp claim for more information.)