Complaints About Attorney’s Fees In Workers’ Compensation Cases
You won’t hear any of our clients complaining about our exorbitant fees related to litigation of their claims against insurance companies. That’s because our clients don’t have to pay the fees. Instead, the defendant pays the fees when they lose the claim and our client is awarded money owed. This means fighting your workers’ compensation claim potentially costs the insurer a lot of extra money.
A recent case has gums flapping. An attorney charged an insurer over $1 million for attorneys’ fees on a $3 million settlement. Of course, they could have avoided those fees simply by accepting and processing the claim that was provided to them by the attorney. At that point, they would have been charged a lot less money. Instead, they fought the claim tooth and nail, ran up the bill for the claimant, and then lost the case meaning that they not only had to pay out on the claim, but they also had to pay for the claimant’s attorney’s fees.
This has resulted in workers’ compensation insurers whining about the costs of attorneys’ fees in workers’ comp litigation. At one point, there were laws on the books restricting how much an attorney can charge. However, those laws were overturned twice on appeal. Now, the insurers want to pass a third law, one that hopefully isn’t itself illegal. But this will likely only encourage insurance companies to fight workers’ comp claims even harder knowing that at some point, it will no longer be worth the time and money to litigate the claim.
Holding insurance companies accountable for legal fees
For a moment, let’s forget about the law. Everything operates on leverage and incentives. If you’re an insurance company that is presented with a workers’ compensation claim, you want to avoid paying the claim because that’s more money in your pocket. So you take the stance that the claim is invalid and force the claimant to prove every element required to satisfy the legal requirements of the claim. This wastes their time and money and eventually, their claim is proven valid. Should they be forced to pay for the right to litigate their claim? Should they be forced to pay for the costs of litigating the claim when they cannot work and have no income? Of course not. But that won’t stop the insurance companies from stalling the process as long as possible to force the claimant into an unfair settlement.
So, insurance companies need to risk something when they choose to deny and defend the claim. The risk is that they’ll be paying the claimant’s attorney’s fees if they lose. Then they lose. Instead of considering this the price of doing business, they end up whining to the legislature about how they’re paying too much money. Of course, if they had simply accepted the claim without fighting it, they would have lost significantly less money. But they want it both ways. They want the right to force the claimant into costly litigation without risking anything at all. Thus far, the appeals courts have rebuffed all attempts to protect insurers from their own decision to fight valid claims.
Talk to a Miami Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
If your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer is fighting your claim, you won’t have to pay the costs of litigation. The insurance company will pay those costs and then pay a journalist to produce an op-ed on how it makes them sad. Regardless, call Miami workers’ compensation lawyers at Payer Law today and we can begin the process of litigating your claim.