Unlike most other states, Texas workers’ comp lawyers do not work on a contingency fee basis (by taking a percentage of your workers’ comp benefits). Instead, Texas workers’ comp lawyers are paid hourly based on the time spent on your case. However, the fee charged by your lawyer must be approved by the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation, and your lawyer will be paid out of the proceeds of your claim. In other words, you won't need to pay out of out pocket.
Texas law places limits on your lawyer’s hourly rate and the total amount of legal fees that can be taken out of your compensation. Workers’ comp lawyers cannot charge more than $150 per hour (or $50 per hour for legal assistants). You can try to negotiate a lower rate, but most Texas lawyers charge the maximum allowed hourly rate. In most cases, your lawyer’s fees also cannot exceed 25% percent of your compensation.
Your lawyer will keep track of the time spent on your case and send the bill directly to the Division. The Division will look at the bill to make sure that the fees are reasonable and necessary. What is reasonable will vary from case to case because some are far more complicated than others. However, there are limits on the amount of time a lawyer can spend on certain tasks. For example, your lawyer is only allowed to charge for up to five hours for representing you in the administrative appeal process.
Once the Division approves the fee requested by your lawyer, the insurance company will pay your lawyer’s bill by deducting the fee from your workers’ compensation payment. (See our article on how much you might receive in workers’ comp benefits in Texas.)
Costs incurred by your lawyer in pursuing your case—which may include deposition fees, copy fees, or translator fees—are paid directly by the insurance company and do not come out of your workers’ comp recovery.
Although it isn’t required, most Texas workers’ comp lawyers offer a free consultation to help you determine whether you need the lawyer’s help with your case. For information about how to choose a lawyer, see our article on what to look for in a workers’ comp lawyer.