As in most other states, Ohio workers’ compensation lawyers typically work on a contingency fee basis. This means that, instead of charging by the hour, your lawyer will take a percentage of the compensation he or she is able to secure for you. Unlike many other states, Ohio does not place a cap on contingency fees in workers’ comp cases. However, the fee must be reasonable.
Several factors influence whether a contingency fee is reasonable, including:
While these factors vary from case-to-case, it is not uncommon for lawyers to charge a 33.33% contingency fee in the average workers’ comp case in Ohio. (This amount tends to be higher than in other states, many of which cap fees closer to the 10 to 20% range.) If your case is relatively straightforward, you might be able to negotiate a lower fee. Whatever fee you agree to, be sure that your lawyer puts it in writing in a fee agreement.
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 these costs throughout your case and get reimbursed from your settlement or award. (To learn more, see our article on what items are deducted from your workers’ comp settlement or award.)
If you believe that your lawyer’s fee is unfair, you can request a hearing before the Ohio Industrial Commission. You must file your request within one year of the fee becoming due. Your lawyer will need to present an itemized bill describing the services he or she performed. After hearing from both sides, the Commission will decide on the appropriate fee for your lawyer’s services.
Most workers’ comp attorneys in Ohio 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.