Two Cents and Minnesota Attorney Fees for Worker Compensation

Minnesota Attorney Fees for Worker CompensationMinnesota attorney fees for worker compensation cases are governed by Minnesota Chapter 176.  Say what?  I know….this article begins with a specific reference.  This wasn’t done to confuse you – but to make the point that the cost for a worker compensation lawyer in MN is heavily regulated by rules.

Yes, the cost of a lawyer for your work comp case in Minnesota can be awarded upon an appeal to the Worker’s Compensation Court of Appeals or an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.  These rules are discussed below.  Questions, just call….it is easier.

None the less, the rules specific to Worker Compensation in Minnesota are loaded with references to attorney fees.  As a result, this issue can be quite complicated, but not intentionally.

Attorney Fees for Worker Compensation in Minnesota

In general, Minnesota statute 176.081 specifically limits how much an attorney can charge an applicant seeking worker compensation benefits in Minnesota.  In other words, there are specific rules that govern Minnesota Attorney Fees for Worker Compensation.

Thus, brace yourself for the following outline because attorney fees are complicated given the number of rules that apply.

Minnesota statute for Attorney Fees and Work Comp

In Minnesota and with exceptions, the maximum fee allowed by law for legal services is 25 percent of the first $4,000 of compensation awarded to the employee and 20 percent of the next $60,000 of compensation awarded to the employee subject to a cumulative maximum fee of $13,000 for fees related to the samMinnesota attorney fees for worker compensatione injury.  Say what?  Where did these numbers come from?

I am glad you asked.  The above means the Minnesota Attorney Fees for Worker Compensation are controlled by Minnesota rule 176.081.

Can an employer be forced to pay attorney fees for a Worker Compensation case in MN?

Yes and no.  Remember, the issue of how much Minnesota Attorney Fees for Worker Compensation can be awarded and under what circumstance they are granted is extremely complicated. It is the practice of this law office to do what ever it can to defer costs to your employer.  If this is successful, Employers and insurers may not pay attorney fees or wages for legal services of more than $26,000 per case.

Minnesota Attorney Fees for Worker Compensation in an Appeal

When there is an appeal to the Court of Appeals for Worker’s Compensation or an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court, the rules change. In general, the losing part and or the employer is not responsible for attorney fees for a worker compensation case in Minnesota.

That said, Minnesota rule 176.511 allows for a party to collect “reasonable attorney fee[s]” when there is an appeal to the Court of Appeals or Minnesota Supreme Court.

Who decides how attorney fees are awarded in a Minnesota Work Comp case?

The Compensation Judge, as defined under Minnesota Statute 176.011, determines and reviews petitions for attorney fees and costs.

What is “reasonable attorney fees” for a Minnesota Worker Compensation case?

The definition of what is “reasonable” and what is “not reasonable” really depends on the eye of the beholder.  Ultimately, it is up to your attorney to track any and all time devoted to your case.  If your attorney’s log for time is submitted for review, the assigned Judge will review and determine what is reasonable.

For purposes of example, a Workers’ compensation claimant was entitled to award of $1,600 in attorney fees in Botler v. Wanger Greenhouses.  It is important to note, Attorney’s fees cannot be collected out of compensation awarded unless such fees are approved by industrial commissioner. 

Final thoughts on attorney fees for your Worker Comp case in Minnesota

It is the opinion of this law office that one should never assume your attorney fees will be paid by your employer or former employer or an insurance company.  Instead, it is important to focus on your goal – get compensated for your injury and help yourself get back to work doing what you have chosen as your career.

Therefore, if you need help with your worker compensation case in Minnesota, contact this law office for help.