Attorneys Fees in Texas Workers’ Compensation Cases
In Texas, workers’ compensation attorneys are paid by the hour and must be approved by the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation. These attorneys provide representation to workers who have suffered injuries or illnesses on the job and are entitled to receive weekly benefits from their insurance carrier.
Throughout the life of a workers’ comp case, attorneys and their legal staff perform many tasks that add value to their clients’ cases. From day-to-day things like making phone calls, writing letters, and communicating with the client, to more specialized services like filing pleadings and forms, negotiating with the insurance company’s lawyers, performing legal research, preparing for hearings, trials and appeals.
To be paid for these services, Texas workers’ comp attorneys must submit requests for fees to the court on a regular basis. These fee requests must include an itemized list of the work performed, including the category of work, the attorney or paralegal responsible, the recipient of the work, and the amount of time spent on it.
The categories of work may include communication, informal resolution, mediations, hearings, initial file setup services, agreements and settlements, and travel time. The recipients of the work may include the client, the insurance adjuster, the court, the treating doctor, the judge, witnesses, and other court staff.
The court will review these requests and decide whether to approve or deny each line item. The client will receive a copy of the attorneys fees submission for approval and may challenge it if they feel the requests are not accurate.
Once attorneys fees have been approved by the court, the insurance carrier will withhold up to 25% of the client’s weekly benefit payment and send it to the attorney to pay towards their accrued fees balance. Approved attorneys fees will increase the attorney’s lien against the case, while payments from the insurance carrier will reduce the lien.
Case expenses may include things like notary fees, travel expenses (to and from hearings), investigation costs, postage, medical records costs, public records requests, and so forth.
Here at Abbott, Clay & Bedoy, LLC, LLC, we do not charge our clients for case expenses. Although Texas law clearly allows our firm to be paid for case expenses, we have chosen to absorb these costs instead of passing them on to our clients. After all, our injured clients are already faced with reduced income at a time when their personal expenses often increase.
Unpaid Attorneys Fees
If there are unpaid attorneys fees at the end of the representation period, those fees will be waived and the client will not be responsible for paying them. It is common for clients to not receive enough income benefits during the course of their case to cover the accumulated attorneys fees. Texas law also prohibits attorneys from accepting payment for fees that are not withheld from the client’s income benefits. If the client’s income benefits are discontinued or fully paid, it is not legally possible for the attorney to continue to be paid for their services. The attorney will never ask the client to pay fees in any way other than what is required by law and will not pursue collection of unpaid fees after the representation ends.
Texas Workers’ Compensation laws are complex and impact many areas of an injured workers’ life and future. The insurance carrier has one goal: to limit or dispute your medical care and your entitlement to income benefits. Call 888-434-COMP (888-434-2667) and talk to our hard-working, experienced workers’ comp lawyers. You owe it to yourself to talk to an attorney who can help you understand your rights, responsibilities and options in this difficult time of your life. The call is free, there is no obligation, and all conversations are kept strictly confidential. Call today.
12600 N. Featherwood Dr, Ste 200
Houston, Texas 77034
Phone & Fax
Main Office: 713-223-1234
Fax Number: 713-910-9010
Toll Free: 888-434-2667
Toll Free 888-434-COMP
Abbott, Clay & Bedoy attorneys are licensed only in the state of Texas unless otherwise indicated in the biographical section. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. We consider employment in another State only in association with co-counsel licensed in that State. References to laws are limited to federal and State of Texas law.