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How Much Does a Tennessee Workers' Comp Lawyer Cost?

How much does it cost to hire a Tennessee workers' comp lawyer? This article will explain the financial aspects of hiring a lawyer.

If you've been involved in an on-the-job accident, this is already a stressful time for you. You may be facing lost wages and mounting medical bills. Can adding a legal bill on top of all that help? A legal bill's size is influenced by many factors, including:

  • How your attorney bills for his or her time
  • How much your attorney charges within that billing system
  • Whether you can get a quick resolution to your workers' comp claim
  • If you're able to collect any money for your claim
  • The amount of other legal expenses tied to pursuing your claim, such as filing fees or the cost of hiring a medical expert
  • More than how much your lawyer charges, the billing method he or she uses has the greatest impact on your legal bill's bottom line. Generally, Tennessee workers' comp lawyers use one of two billing methods: contingency fee or an hourly rate. They are very different methods.

    Lawyers who use a contingency fee do not ask for any money up front. Instead, they will take a percentage of any money you get through a settlement or award. If your claim is not successful, you often don't owe a penny because many workers' compensation attorneys in Tennessee will waive the related legal expenses in that situation.

    When paying a lawyer an hourly rate (also called an hourly fee) you pay your lawyer for his or her time working on your claim regardless of the outcome. You'll also be responsible for any legal expenses your attorney incurs while working on your case.

    No matter which billing method your lawyer prefers, it is best you understand it and ask detailed questions about it before hiring him or her. You can't renegotiate the terms of your billing arrangement once the lawyer is hired.

    Hiring Tennessee Workers' Comp Attorneys on Contingency

    Many Tennessee workers' comp lawyers prefer to work on contingency. They recognize this billing arrangement offers many advantages to you, the client:

    • You don't have to pay any money before you collect workers' compensation benefits
    • You don't have to pay if your Tennessee workers' claim is unsuccessful
    • Your lawyer's paycheck is tied to the success of your claim, giving him or her an incentive to get you the most money possible

    The main disadvantage to the contingency billing method is that, if your claim settles quickly or results in more money than expected, you may feel your attorney earned too much money given the effort put into your claim.

    Whether you are in Nashville or Memphis or any other part of Tennessee, if you do decide to hire workers' comp lawyer who asks for a contingency fee, you may be able to make some changes to the billing arrangement. Before formally hiring the lawyer, consider asking him or her to:

    • Reduce the percentage of the contingency fee
    • Calculate the fee after legal expenses have been deducted, not before
    • Offer a graduated system where you pay one percentage if you settle and a higher percentage if your claim is resolved at an administrative hearing

    Hiring a Tennessee Worker's Comp Lawyer at an Hourly Rate

    Charging an hourly rate is much more commonplace among attorneys who practice in other areas of the law, such as criminal or tax law. Tennessee workers' comp lawyers know that their clients prefer a contingency fee because it frees up the client's money to pay for medical bills and living expenses in the aftermath of their workplace accident.

    If you do decide to hire a workers' comp lawyer by the hour, you'll most likely have to pay a retainer fee, which is an up-front payment. You'll then pay monthly bills for the legal fees and related legal expenses. If you do not prevail, you will still owe that money.

    If you are having trouble finding a workers' compensation attorney in Tennessee willing to take your claim on contingency, they may be trying to tell you that your claim is weak or not worth much money. Before you agree to hire a lawyer by the hour, make sure to get a detailed analysis of your accident and claim to benefits. You do not want to be wasting your time or money.

    The Cost of Hiring a Tennessee Workers' Compensation Attorney

    When interviewing attorneys to represent you, make sure you understand each one's billing method and the terms. Ask what you might owe if you are unable to collect any benefits. Also ask:

    • How much money should I expect to get for my claim under Tennessee workers' comp law? If we settle? If we go to an administrative hearing?
    • How much money will I pay in legal fees if we settle? If we go to an administrative hearing?
    • How much money will I need to pay in legal expenses if we settle? If we go to an administrative hearing?
    • How much money am I likely to take home after paying legal fees and expenses if we settle? If we go to an administrative hearing?

    When you have the answers to your claim-specific questions, then you'll have a much clearer picture of how much it costs to hire a Tennessee workers' comp lawyer.