Strict Limits on Attorney Fees, Now Overturned, Stand Out Among States

Marc A. Perper, a partner and Chicago workers’ compensation attorney at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, was asked to explain the difference between the statutory fee structure in Illinois and the statutory fee structure in Florida following a Florida Supreme Court decision.
The Florida Supreme Court recently declared that the statutory caps on claimants’ attorney fees in the Florida workers’ compensation system are unconstitutional and a violation of an injured worker’s due process rights.
The Florida workers’ compensation statute allows for an attorneys’ fee equal to 20% of the first $5,000 in benefits secured for a client, 15% of the next $5,000 and 10% of any amount secured in excess of $10,000 with no room for exceptions.
In its decision for Castellanos v. Next Door Co., the Florida Supreme Court ruled that this structure creates a disincentive for claimants’ attorneys to take on “low-value complex” cases.
According to Marc Perper, there is a major distinction between the Illinois and Florida acts. In Illinois, workers’ compensation attorneys get 20% of the settlement or award and this total is not to exceed the 364-week cap. However, when a full 20% fee exceeds the 364-week cap, attorneys can petition the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission for a fee in excess of the 364-week cap. As long as the client agrees to the fee, there is usually no problem in getting the commission to approve it.
Due to publishing restrictions, the story is no longer available to read on our website. To read the full story please visit WorkCompCentral: Strict Limits on Attorney Fees, Now Overturned, Stand Out Among States