The short answer: No more than 25% of the benefits which the attorney gets for you. We never do that.
The long answer: Some attorneys are demanding 25% of an injured worker's checks from the moment he walks in their door. We think that is taking advantage of the workers' comp claimant. That is completely unfair. We don't take cases if we cannot add value to them -- and we don't expect to get paid until we do. You should never have to give up any of your money (which you need to live on) until the lawyer has done something for you. And filing a couple of form letters with the Industrial Commission isn't enough to earn a fee. In fact it is virtually unheard of for the NCIC to award a fee of more than 25%.
As a general rule we think it is improper for a lawyer to take a cut of your weekly check unless she actually went to a hearing to get the checks started, or if he kept the checks going at a hearing. But if an attorney asks you to pay them from the minute they represent you, or if they write a couple of letters and make some phone calls to get checks started and then want 25% of your money forever, you should seriously consider whether they are in it for your best interests or just for your money.
This article was written by Todd P. Oxner