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Workers’ Compensation: Attorney Fees in Workers’ Compensation Cases

When an employee sustains a work-related injury or illness, he or she should focus on medical treatment, overall rehabilitation and returning to work, without worrying about payment of fees for attorneys and witness in connection with a workers’ compensation case. While many attorneys charge a high hourly rate in divorce or corporate cases, this type of billing system does not apply to workers’ compensation matters.

A New Jersey workers’ comp lawyer is paid not on an hourly basis but based on a contingency fee. This means that the lawyer is not paid until there is a workers’ compensation settlement or award. In the State of New Jersey, section 34:15-64(a) relates to the payment of attorneys’ fees and witness fees in a workers’ compensation case. The law establishes maximum amounts that a workers’ compensation lawyer receives and provides:

“The official conducting any hearing under this chapter may allow to the party in whose favor judgment is entered, costs of witness fees and a reasonable attorney fee, not exceeding 20% of the judgment; and a reasonable fee not exceeding $400 for any one witness, except that the following fees may be allowed for a medical witness:

(1) (a) A fee of not more than $600 paid to an evaluating physician for an opinion regarding the need for medical treatment or for an estimation of permanent disability, if the physician provides the opinion or estimation in a written report; and (b) An additional fee of not more than $600 paid to the evaluating physician who makes a court appearance to give testimony; or

(2) (a) A fee of not more than $450 paid to a treating physician for the preparation and submission of a report including the entire record of treatment, medical history, opinions regarding diagnosis, prognosis, causal relationships between the treated condition and the claim, the claimant's ability to return to work with or without restrictions, what, if any, restrictions are appropriate, and the anticipated date of return to work, and any recommendations for further treatment; and (b) (I) An additional fee of not more than $300 per hour, with the total amount not to exceed $2,500, paid to the treating physician who gives testimony concerning causal relationship, ability to work or the need for treatment; or (ii) An additional fee of not more than $300 per hour, with the total amount not to exceed $1,500, paid to the treating physician who gives a deposition concerning causal relationship, ability to work or the need for treatment.”

To provide a safeguard on behalf of all injured employees, any attorney fee award must be approved by the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation prior to disbursement.

Legal Services Provided in a Workers’ Compensation Case

Each workers’ compensation case is unique based on the extent and nature of the injury, but the maximum dollar amount that can be assessed for attorney and witness fees remains set at 20 percent of the judgment. This dollar amount covers payment for any and all of the legal services provided in a workers’ compensation case, including:

  • Reviewing the facts and circumstances surrounding the injury
  • Filing an initial claim for workers’ compensation
  • Motion for temporary disability or medical benefits
  • Conducting and reviewing discovery
  • Depositions
  • Pre-trial conference
  • Hearing

An experienced attorney can review your case and describe the exact legal procedures necessary to protect your interests and ensure you receive all appropriate compensation.

Call a New Jersey Workers Comp Lawyer with Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. Today

Our firm does not receive payment until you receive a workers’ compensation settlement or award, alleviating worry about how you will pay your attorneys’ fees. Contact our office today so we can review your circumstances and file a claim on your behalf. If you were injured on the job, regardless of the extent of your injuries, you are entitled to compensation under New Jersey law.

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