If You Think Compensation Costs You Money Upfront, Think Again

If You Think Compensation Costs You Money Upfront, Think Again

Workers' Compensation cases can be straightforward.

Injury can be hard.

Hiring a lawyer can be expensive, but if you’re injured at work there’s something you should know: Hiring an attorney costs you nothing upfront, and an attorney can only collect if you win your case.


Minnesota Statute 176.081 deals primarily with attorney’s fees in workers’ compensation cases, and is the foundation for further statutory provisions.  This statute starts with subdivision one, which is an outline of an attorneys limitation of fees, and is very important when discussing how much a workers’ compensation case may cost you.

As it points out, while an attorney may be paid, it is a contingent fee, in this case contingent on recovery, which means it’s a win-win.  Attorney’s fees are based on a straight twenty-percent of disputed benefits which as of 2013, equates to twenty-percent of up to one-hundred and thirty-thousand dollars.

It is also important to note that “all fees for legal services related to the same injury are cumulative and may not exceed $26,000”.  While it maybe possible for an attorney to receive more, it is only possible if the court specifies such, and this happens very rarely and usually in unique situations.

If are so inclined to read as far as subdivision nine, you might notice some confusion over fees.  The reason for this is that the attorney’s fees for workers’ compensation cases were changed in 2013, from twenty-five to twenty-percent recovery, to a straight twenty percent, as mentioned above.  The change does not alter the aforementioned section, but rather, replaces it entirely.

In conclusion, the section outlining an attorney’s recovery MUST be in your attorney’s retainer agreement and what it means is that the employee may not be subject to more than a cumulative maximum fee of twenty-six-thousand dollars for their attorney, and only if they win their case.

Christopher Rosengren
Mankato, Minnesota