ATTORNEY FEE AWARD IN NJ WORKERS COMP
When injured workers come in to see me, they always ask whether I fight for all the benefits that they deserve. And I will fight for all the benefits they deserve. They also ask how much is this going to cost them. How much will cost for me to represent them? and I always tell them that there is no fee, no recovery guarantee which means that if your case does not settle for a cash settlement, then there is no fee to you for my representation. I only get paid if there is a settlement for you.
In New Jersey, there are no retainer agreements in workers compensation. The amount of the attorney fee is set by a Judge of Compensation, at the end of the case. That Judge typically sets the percentage of the attorney fee at 20 percent of the award. Now, I tell people you’re not fully responsible for that payment of 20 percent.
A Judge of Compensation typically divides that 20 percent between you and the other party. You are typically responsible for 40 percent while the other party is typically responsible for 60 percent, of the 20 percent award of counsel fees.
Let me give you an example that perhaps would be helpful to understand this. If I were to settle your case, for example, for a 10,000 dollars settlement, a Judge of Compensation would award me 2,000 dollars in counsel fees which is 20 percent of the award.
However, the Judge of Compensation would typically order the other side to pay 60 percent of my award or 1,200 dollars and the amount payable by you for my counsel fee, in that case, would only be 800 dollars. It is a fair way to settle counsel fee issues in the State of New Jersey. It works well for the injured workers and that is how I would be paid in your case.