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How Much a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Costs in Every State in 2024

Written by
A drawing of the lead workers' compensation lawyer for Atticus.
Victoria Muñoz
Lead Attorney
December 8, 2022  ·  4 min read
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As you start to navigate the workers’ compensation process, hiring a workers' comp lawyer can greatly simplify the medical care for you. But how much that will cost is likely top of mind for you. The exact answer depends on your state and sometimes the complexity of your case.

The good news is that reputable workers' comp lawyers charge a contingency fee, meaning you don't pay anything upfront and you only have to pay their fee after you settle. That fee comes out of your settlement and if your lawyer doesn't help you get a settlement, you don't have to pay them.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ll break down the basics of lawyer fees, including how much they charge in every state, when they collect, and situations when they could be worth it for you.

How workers’ comp lawyer fees work

Most workers’ comp lawyers in the country charge a flat fee of between 10% and 33%. That fee is a percentage of your final settlement amount or of the benefits they help you win.

Lawyer fees vary by state since each state sets its own workers' comp laws. Depending on what state you live in, you may pay a flat fee, a tiered fee based on how much you win, or a set dollar amount that depends on the details of your case.

In all states, reputable workers' comp lawyers are paid a contingency fee. That means you only pay the fee if they help you win your case. If they can't get you a settlement or if they can't help you win additional benefits, then you don't have to pay their fee.

Learn more: What does a workers’ comp lawyer do that I can’t?

State-by-state workers’ comp lawyer fees

Since workers’ comp lawyer fees vary by state, you can find your state rate in the table below.

Note that the actual fee you pay may vary since most states don't require specific fees and instead allow lawyers to charge up to a certain percentage or within a certain range. The fee may also change based on the type of settlement you receive, the appeal stage of your case, and the complexity of your case.


Estimated base fee


15% maximum


Minimum 25% of the first $1,000 of compensation; 10% of all additional compensation


25% maximum




9% to 15%


20% maximum


20% maximum for most cases


30% or 10x state average weekly wage

District of Columbia

20% maximum


10% to 20%, using a tiered fee structure


25% maximum


Decided by the court based on factors like your lawyer's experience and the complexity of your case


25% maximum


20% maximum


10% to 20%, using a tiered fee structure


25% to 33.33%


25% maximum


10% to 20%, using a tiered fee structure


20% maximum


30% maximum


10% for settlements; 30% for back benefits


Set dollar amounts ranging from $466.72 to $6,534.05 based on the nature of the case


20% of the first $100,000 of compensation; 15% of any compensation past the first $100,000


20% of the first $130,000 of compensation; maximum fee of $26,000


25% maximum


25% or more


20% maximum for cases without a hearing; 25% maximum for cases with a hearing


Around 33%


Around 33.33%

New Hampshire

Around 20%

New Jersey

20% maximum

New Mexico

10% to 20% with a maximum fee of $22,500

New York

15% of an award or 1/3 of a week's compensation

North Carolina

Around 25%

North Dakota

Around 20% depending on your case details


Around 33.33%


10% maximum for temporary disability; 20% maximum for permanent disability and death




20% maximum

Rhode Island

20% maximum

South Carolina

33.3% maximum

South Dakota

25% maximum of settlement, up to 35% if you have court hearings


20% maximum of settlement or 20% maximum of the first 450 weeks of permanent total disability


25% maximum


Around 25% to 33.33% with no legal cap


$245/hour maximum for attorneys, $9/hour maximum for paralegals


Around 20%


10% to 30% of benefits; 15% of a structured settlement

West Virginia

Maximum 20%


Maximum 20% for most cases


Dependent on the case and lawyer

How do you pay a workers’ comp lawyer?

Before a lawyer can get paid, a judge has to approve the lawyer’s fee and ensure it follows state regulations. This helps protect you from any miscalculations or wrongdoing on the lawyer’s side.

The lawyer’s check comes directly out of your settlement or benefits. This way, you’re not responsible for sending the lawyer's payment yourself. In some states, part of the lawyer fee may also be paid by your employer instead of you.

Does a lawyer’s fee change if I receive a settlement? 

In general, no. Whether you get your workers’ comp benefits as a lump-sum settlement or scheduled payments over time, most states use the same lawyer fee. However, some states do charge different rates (usually lower) if your lawyer helps you get your claim approved or get additional benefits, without getting you a settlement.

For example, if your workers' comp claim was denied and a lawyer helps you get your claim approved, they may collect their fee from your back benefits instead of or in addition to a settlement they help you negotiate later on. If you're already receiving weekly benefits and your lawyer helps you get an additional $100 each week, their fee may come out of that $100 each week for a set number of weeks.

Can I negotiate workers’ comp lawyer fees?

Most lawyers won’t negotiate their fees, but it’s possible that some are open to this conversation. Be sure to do all negotiating before you sign any contract to hire that lawyer. Whatever final percentage is in the signed contract is what you’ll pay at the end of your case.

Other costs with a workers’ comp lawyer

There are a few extra costs that a lawyer may charge you. In many cases you still don't pay these unless you win your case. At that point, they come out of your final payment along with the main fee. If your lawyer does ask you pay any costs upfront, make sure the lawyer provides receipts and returns any unspent funds. The initial agreement you sign with the lawyer should explain all additional costs and if you're not clear on what the costs are, ask all your questions before you sign a contract.

Here are other common costs a workers’ comp lawyer may charge:

  • Filing fees, such as for appeals or court hearings

  • The cost to copy medical records, including search fees, page fees, evidence fees, and others — some states set a maximum fee while states such as Alaska and Idaho mandate that you don't have to pay these

  • Lawyer travel costs, like mileage to get to hearings

  • Independent consultations or medical exams the lawyer sets up for you, if these costs aren't covered by the workers' comp insurance company

What shouldn’t cost money is your initial consultation. Most lawyers don’t charge for the initial meeting to discuss your case and none of the lawyers in the Atticus network do.

6 reasons you might want a workers’ comp lawyer

Workers’ comp lawyers can help you navigate the entire process, from staying on top of filing deadlines to communicating with insurance companies, doctors, and the state. Atticus lawyers also help workers' secure a settlement that's twice as high on average.

Here are a few examples of when a lawyer can support you:

  • If you need help understanding the process: Lawyers are trained in your state’s laws and can guide you each step of the way.

  • If you’re unhappy with your payout: When your payments or settlement is less than expected, a lawyer can help you appeal and maximize your potential benefits. 

  • If your employer is uncooperative: It’s common for employers or their insurance companies to be uncooperative or move too slowly on your claim. A lawyer can help push them forward to drive a positive outcome.

  • If your claim is denied: Any time your workers’ compensation claim is denied, reach out to a lawyer. They’ll help you appeal and work to get you the benefits you deserve.

  • If your medical care is denied: Helping you secure medical care from independent workers' comp doctors is a key task that a lawyer can help you with. Experienced lawyers will have a network of doctors and medical professionals who they trust to handle workers' comp cases.

  • If you need to attend a hearing: Sometimes you’ll need to attend a hearing to either appeal a denial or to provide additional evidence of your injury. A lawyer can gather evidence and represent you at the hearing so you can get a favorable decision.

Still unsure if a lawyer could help you? Try our full guide on when you should hire a workers’ comp lawyer.

How to find a good worker’s comp lawyer

Finding the right workers’ comp lawyer is important. You want someone who has practiced in your area and for enough years to have seen many different types of cases.

To make your search easier, Atticus has a network of experienced lawyers across the country. Start with our workers' comp questionnaire. A member of our team will reach out to learn more about your situation, answer your questions, and connect you with a lawyer if it's a fit for your case.

Connect with an experienced workers' comp lawyer today.

Frequently asked questions about workers’ comp lawyers

Do I need a workers’ comp lawyer?

Not everyone needs to work with a lawyer, but a workers’ comp lawyer can especially help if your claim is denied, your medical care is denied, or after you get a settlement offer. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve collected some situations when a workers’ comp lawyer can help.

How much does a workers' comp lawyer cost?

Laws vary by state, but you can generally expect a workers’ comp lawyer fee of between 15% and 33% of your final settlement. That sounds like a lot, but the average settlement with an Atticus lawyer is twice as high as for people who don't have a lawyer. Factor in the additional medical care your lawyer can likely negotiate for you, and in the end you still take home more money by having a lawyer. Learn more about workers' comp lawyer fees.

What does a workers’ comp lawyer do that I can’t?

A local lawyer is well-versed in your state’s laws, so they’ll know how to avoid payment delays, maximize your medical coverage, and negotiate higher payments or a bigger settlement. They can help even if you never get denied or experience a serious issue. Here’s more on what a workers’ comp lawyer actually does.

How to find the best workers’ comp lawyer

There are some key questions you should ask any lawyer before hiring them, like how much they charge, whether they have experience with similar cases, and how they communicate with clients throughout the process. Learn more in our guide to finding a good workers’ comp lawyer.

Can I change my workers’ comp lawyer?

You can fire your workers’ comp lawyer and hire a new one. Talk with your lawyer first, though. You may still have to pay them for some expenses and sometimes issues like slow responses or long wait times are the result of misunderstandings. But if your lawyer just isn’t working out, you have options. Here's more on how and when to fire your workers' comp attorney.

What's the difference between lawyers and attorneys?

The terms lawyer and attorney are mostly interchangeable. Technically the word lawyer could include more legal professionals than just attorneys, but all Atticus workers’ comp lawyers are also attorneys who can legally represent clients. Most state bar websites also have a feature that allows you to confirm an attorney's credentials by searching their name or bar number. A reputable lawyer will provide their bar number upon request.

Related resources:

When Will Workers' Comp Offer a Settlement?

Average Workers’ Comp Settlements by Body Part

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A drawing of the lead workers' compensation lawyer for Atticus.

Victoria Muñoz

Lead Attorney

Victoria Muñoz is an attorney on Atticus’s Workers' Compensation team. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of Stanford Law School, and has counseled hundreds of people seeking workers' compensation. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her pup.
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