How Much Does a Worker’s Comp Lawyer Cost In California?

In California workers’ compensation lawyer will likely to be paid on a contingency fee basis for the legal services, that will charge a range of between 9% to 12%. However, the lawyer can charge more, 15% according to complexity of case. After reading this article, you will be having a better understanding of the fees associated with workers’ compensation lawyer cost in California.

Reasons You Might Need A Workers’ Comp Lawyer

After you get hurt during the job, you cannot generally sue your employer. Instead, your employer’s workers’ comp insurer should offer you compensation for your injuries. And you are entitled to this compensation for any injuries resulting from work duties, even if your employer was not negligent. There is a worker’s compensation 90 days rule under which you can apply for your claim.

What does worker’s comp lawyer do, is that he can help you navigate the entire process of your claim from filling your case to the settlement, by staying on the top to avoid deadlines of communicating with insurance companies, doctors, and the state. 

There are situations when you should definitely think for hiring a worker comp lawyer, such as:

  • Your employer doesn’t do their part to file your workers’ comp claim.
  • Your employer’s insurance denies your claim.
  • Your medical care is denied.
  • You get an incorrect medical diagnosis from your workers’ comp doctor that prevents you from getting the benefits you need.
  • Your employer’s insurance offers to settle.
  • You want to go back to work part-time but don’t want to put your benefits at risk.
  • You want to apply for disability benefits while receiving workers’ comp benefits.

After hiring a worker comp lawyer here are a few examples of when a lawyer can support you:

  • Lawyers are trained in your state’s laws and can guide you each step of the way.
  • When your payments or settlement is less than expected, a lawyer can help you appeal and maximize your potential benefits. 
  • 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.
  • Any time your workers’ compensation claim is denied, lawyer will help you appeal and work to get you the benefits you deserve.
  • 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.
  • 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.

What the Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Fee Is Based On?

The lawyer’ fee in a workers’ compensation case is based on your permanent disability award, any money you receive in workers’ comp settlement of your anticipated future medical expenses, any retroactive temporary disability payments owed to you. Any penalties the employer or insurer has to pay you. A fee on the present and future payments of temporary disability may be awarded by a Workers’ Compensation Judge in certain circumstances such as when your attorney has to go to trial on that issue and a judge determines that a fee is justified.

How Much Does A Workers’ Comp Lawyer Cost In California?

how much does a workers' comp lawyer cost in california

How Much Does A Workers’ Comp Lawyer Cost In California?

In California, workers’ compensation attorney fees are based on contingency fees. It is an amount of percentage paid from settlement, only if you win your case. That means if you don’t win your case, you don’t have to pay for your legal services. When you hire an attorney, you will receive a contract where the amount of percentage that you will be charged, is written because this fee won’t change. 

However, the contingency fee for a California workers’ comp lawyer usually ranges from 9% to 12%, with 15% being the standard in Southern California and big cities, like San Francisco. In a case where you settle for $40,000, your attorney’s fee could be anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000. Again, these are not out-of-pocket fees. The amount paid to your workers’ compensation lawyer comes directly out of your settlement.

Labor Code 5710 & 5801 Fees

There are other circumstances where a lawyer may be awarded a fee. For example, if a lawyer goes to a trial for retro-temporary disability benefits and is successful in obtaining retro benefits for the injured worker. He will be awarded.

An attorney is also awarded a fee for time preparing the injured worker for a deposition and for providing legal assistance at the deposition.

Those fees are paid at an hourly rate by the insurance carrier. An insurance company may also be required to pay fees pursuant to Labor Code 5801 and 5710 fees in the event that they file a frivolous legal document of appeal in a case. These includes many benefits and the amount of $500 paid per hour. The insurance company may also be responsible for paying the following services and fees:

  • Medical record subpoenas
  • Transcript of the applicant’s deposition
  • Applicant’s Qualified Medical Evaluation
  • Any necessary diagnostic testing
  • Transportation of the applicant to and from any of the events listed above

Other fees you might have to pay

In some cases, the claimant didn’t know and the lawyer may pass on some extra cost to you, you still won’t have to pay those amounts until you win the case and those cost will automatically deduct from the settlement amount.

Possible fees you could owe are:

  • Filing fees, like for court documents 
  • The cost of obtaining medical or governmental records
  • Your lawyer’s travel costs, like mileage for travel to hearings
  • Independent consultations or medical exams that your lawyer paid for out of pocket

Potential fees should be explained in your lawyer’s contract, and the details of your claim could affect which expenses apply to you. But a good lawyer will take the time to answer your questions, so ask anything you need to feel comfortable before you sign a retainer document.

Workers’ Comp Lawyer Fees In California

Workers’ Comp Lawyer Fees In California

Workers’ Comp Lawyer Fees In California

Bringing all of this information together, here’s what you can expect to pay for a workers’ comp lawyer in California:

Workers’ comp lawyer serviceFee
Initial consultationFree
Settlement negotiation9% to 15% of total settlement amount
Negotiation for ongoing benefits (temporary disability, permanent disability, and death benefits)9% to 15% of back pay on past-due benefits and some future payments
Additional feesDepends on your case and lawyer, but usually minimal

Protection Against Excessive Fees

Attorney fees in workers’ compensation cases are regulated by the Labor Code and the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. There are specific criteria that a judge must consider in approving the fee that the attorney requests. According to 8 California Code of Regulations 10775, in establishing a reasonable attorney’s fee, the worker compensation judge or mediator shall consider: 

  1. The responsibility assumed by the attorney
  2. The care exercised in representing the applicant
  3. The time involved and
  4. The results obtained.

The fee will be based on the total amount of money you received at the end of the day weather it is from the employer, the insurance and any life pension combined. See generally Stephens v. Patten Energy Enterprises, Inc., 2012 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 668. If the case is settled by compromise and release, then the fees will be based on the total amount that the case is settled for. 

Fee Disclosure

By law, there must be an official fee disclosure form signed by you and approved by the workers’ compensation appeals board. For this process the agreement should be send for approval within ten days after the agreement is made, pursuant to Labor Code 4906(b). The workers’ compensation appeals board can then verify that the client is being asked to pay exorbitant fees from the outset of the attorney representation of the worker. Also, the attorneys’ fee needs to be approved at the end of the case by a workers’ compensation Judge. Pursuant to California Labor Code 4906(b):

“An attorney or agent shall not demand or accept any fee from an employee or dependent of an employee for the purpose of representing the employee or dependent of an employee in any proceeding of the division, appeals board, or any appellate procedure related thereto until the amount of the fee has been approved or set by the appeals board.”

The agreement should include following factors:

  • The responsibility the attorney assumes
  • The care the attorney exercises in representing the client
  • The time the attorney spends on the case
  • The results obtained from the case

Factors That Affect an Attorney’s Fees

Factors That Affect an Attorney’s Fees

Factors That Affect an Attorney’s Fees

The cost of hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer in California can vary depending on several factors. Some of the most important considerations include:

  • The complexity of your case
  • The stage of your claim
  • The experience and reputation of the lawyer


An attorney fee is highly dependent on the complexity of a case. More the complex your case more will be the fee. If your case is simple and straightforward and clear, compelling evidences of your injuries or illness provided by you, it may cost a less expensive lawyer. If there are multiple witnesses or dispute on your medical records and illness, it may consume more time hence increase your lawyer fee.

Stage of Your Claim

Another key factor affecting the cost of a workers’ compensation lawyer is the stage of your claim. If your case was already filed and your claim is in the court process, it will cost you lesser lawyer fee because starting a claim from scratch can involve more legal work and require more time and effort on the lawyer’s part.

Experience and Reputation

A highly reputed and experienced lawyer can increase your chance of winning the claim. These highly reputed lawyers have high hiring cost due to their experience and efficiency of winning the on a legal court room. Additionally, lawyers specializing in workers’ compensation law may charge more than those practicing in other areas of law.


In California, when a worker gets involved in an accident, he needs some medical treatments and compensation. Hence, there he needs a lawyer and the first thing come in mind is how much does a workers’ comp lawyer cost in California? Although, California has one of the lowest percentages for attorney fees in the nation which is 9%-12% on average. It is very convenience for an injured worker to hire a lawyer with no money and fight for his case and if wins then pay an agreed percentage from his awarded amount.


Who Pays for Medical-Legal Costs in California?

California, the insurance company must refund you (or your attorney) for any costs related to proving medical issues. These “medical-legal costs” include fees for doctors’ testimony, medical evaluations, diagnostic tests, medical reports and records, and interpreters’ services when necessary.

How Much Do Workers’ Comp Lawyers Charge in California?

Workers’ comp lawyers in California are paid contingency fees that are based on the outcome of the case. Thus, an average cost of lawyer in California is in between 10% and 12%. It will be exceeded to 15% due to complexity of case and experience of a lawyer.

What Is the Highest Paid Workers’ Comp Settlement in California?

In 2024, the highest workers’ comp lawyer rate in California was raised to $1,620 per week. One of the highest-paid settlements awarded was in 2021 with an amount of $11.3 million settlement, awarded to a worker who suffered a catastrophic traumatic brain injury while on the job.

What Is the Workers’ Comp Rate for 2024 in California?

The California Department of Industrial Relations raised the minimum workers’ comp benefit rate for temporary total disability to $242-1619. The increase directly corresponds with the increase in the State Average Weekly Wage for the year. 

How long does the workers’ compensation claim process take?

The length of the workers’ compensation claim process can vary depending on several factors, such as the complexity of your case, the stage of your claim, and the availability of evidence. However, it generally takes several weeks or months to complete the process. 

I am Sher A, the person behind this idea. With education in Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) degree from the University of Karachi, Pakistan,, like 5 years of experience as a lawyer.

Leave a Comment