What can you expect if you sustain an injury while in the course and scope of your employment? Usually, the insurance company will initially acknowledge the workers' compensation claim. Often times they will pay the wage loss and the medical expenses. But at some point in time, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, you are going to have trouble with the insurance company. Many people try to wait and avoid hiring a lawyer for fear that it will somehow make the employer mad, that somehow the employer will take adverse reaction towards them. Unfortunately, that almost always comes back to haunt you. Invariably, the insurance company and even the employer will use that against you and take advantage of you under the laws. Remember, not knowing the law is not an excuse. If you fail to follow the correct procedures, (like not documenting your injury or filing the appropriate documents) it does not matter that you are trying to be a good employee. It does not matter that you are trying to be a team player.
So in that regard, you need to get an experienced work comp lawyer involved once you have sustained any type of, what I call a, real or serious injury. Even though the insurance company continues to pay you and pay the benefits to which you’re entitled, it is not a matter of if there’s going to be a fight, it’s a matter of when.
Lawyers are paid under the Minnesota work comp law on a contingency-fee basis. What that means is if we don’t recover monies for you, there are no attorney fees charged. In fact, if you are already receiving benefits such as wage loss benefits and you decide to retain our office, there are no attorney fees that are taken out of those wage loss benefits. The reason why is because there is no dispute. We have not done anything to get you the benefits to which you are entitled.
Attorney fees only come into play if or when the insurance company denies your claim and discontinue the benefits. At that point, if we are able to successfully recover the benefits to which you are entitled, then we will receive a percentage. That percentage is the same for all attorneys handling the workers’ compensation benefits and that is a straight 20% of whatever we recover on your behalf.