How Much Does a NY Workers’ Compensation Attorney Cost?
A very important question is how much does a NY workers’ compensation attorney cost? I will try to explain as best as possible the real deal on this important but rarely discussed issue.
First of all, the law firmly indicates that you must never pay the attorney directly. All fees will be deducted from your awards. So, the first question is what types of awards generate these fees?
One award is called in the lingo of New York Workers’ Compensation a CCP fee. This means that you have gone to a hearing, or the Workers’ Compensation Board has issued a decision in which you are going to be paid a weekly rate into the indefinite future. The attorney is usually awarded a fee of about one third of the weekly rate. For example, if the award states you are to receive $600 per week, the attorney will ask for $150 to $250 and the fee will usually be about $200.
If on the other hand you go to a hearing and the carrier owes you money for a period of time in the past for which you should have been paid but have not received the money yet, the judge will usually award a fee of about 15% of the money moving to you. Sometimes you may be awarded money due you for a past period and also at the same time an award at a weekly future rate. For example:
You go to a hearing and the judge awards you $15,000 in retroactive payments and a direction for the carrier to continue to pay you $400 per week until the next hearing. The attorney might ask for $2250, representing 15% of the “back money” plus another $125 representing the “ccp” fee for a total of $2375. Of course, this is standard and may vary based on several factors. The factors would be how much work the attorney did, how complicated the legal issues were and whether you are in dire circumstances. Ultimately, however, the judge will be the one who decides how much the fee will be. The attorney cannot negotiate this and no one can know for certain ahead of time what a judge will do.
Another type of fee is the settlement fee when cases are settled with a lump sum of money. Typically the attorney fee on a settlement will be for 15% of the amount of the settlement. However, if a case closes with a settlement to pay you weekly checks at a fixed rate for a fixed time frame, called a class fee, the fee will usually be 10 times the class rate. For example, a judge determines you are entitled to $500 per week for 300 weeks. The fee will usually be a flat $5000. If any back money is owed, an additional fee of 15% of the back money may be added to the fee and the fee may be paid out of that money. On the other hand, if no back money is due, the judge may rule that the “class” fee will be paid in increments payable over time. So, in the just-mentioned case of payments ordered at $500 for 300 weeks, a judge might, for example, say the fee is the $5000 class fee payable by deducting $25 per week for 200 weeks.