Legal Question in Workers Comp in California

I got a workmans comp attorney. I was told by the attorneys son his paralegal that at any point I could sign paper work stating I didn't want them to represent me anymore. I chose not to use them and went with someone else. Now I just received a letter for reasonable attorney fees for legal service. His son at no time said if I went with someone else would I have to pay such a fee as this is a workmans comp case and sometimes doesn't work out.

Asked on 5/01/12, 2:21 pm

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2 Answers from Attorneys

Ronald Mahurin Law Offices of Ronald Glenn Mahurin

What is your question? Are you asking if your prior attorney should forego payment for his services? Such is up to the court and very unlikely. You are fortunate that another attorney took your case knowing that attorney fees were to be split with another firm. Note that the attorney fees you pay will be no higher, only split among the attorneys according to their effort and result.

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Answered on 5/01/12, 3:41 pm

Nancy Wallace Nancy Wallace Atty at Law

If you ONLY truly received a 'letter', and not a green NOTICE OF WORKERS COMPENSATION LIEN, disregard it.

In Comp, the judge typically sets aside 15% of your final award...if there are multiple lawyers, the various lawyers 'duke it out' for a share of that 15% .

So whether you get 1 attorney or 5 attorneys, only 15% of your award will be deducted.

For an attorney to get a share of the 15% withheld, the attorney is to file a green Lien.

The lien should be served on you by mail.

it should itemize each chunk of time spent by the attorney line-by-line.

if the attorney didn't do this, tell the new attorney you'd like to help him/her get the whole 15% because the first attorney didn't itemize time spent and didn't file any lien and you feel they should not receive any sum.

There is a clause in the FEE DISCLOSURE STATEMENT you signed with attorney #1 that states that if you terminate an attorney, the court can still award some funds to compensate that attorney.

So claiming the son didn't make things clear there would be legal fees won't carry any weight. When you signed the Fee Disclosure Statement, you were supposed to ask what that clause meant and understand it before signing or refuse to sign...

...but it's not a problem because that first attorney will have a rough time getting any fees based on what you've explained, and it won't cost you any extra if he does.

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Answered on 5/03/12, 12:36 pm

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