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Dawn Atkin

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Attorneys fees in Utah Workers Compensation claims are strictly controlled by statute and rule.  Attorneys fees are on a contingency basis, which means the attorney is paid from the benefits recovered at the end of the case.  Generally, they are 25% of the benefits the attorney recovers for the injured worker. (The attorney fee rule is actually quite complicated.  Read all of the details in the post "Attorneys Fees" coming soon.)  Because medical expenses are paid to the doctor, not the injured worker, normally, there are no attorney's fees for recovering medical expenses.

However, this created a problem in the system.  Injured workers who only needed medical coverage, could not pay an attorney, and few attorneys were willing to take these cases pro bono (for free).  Therefore, a new statute was added to allow injured workers with no time off work, or a small period of time off work, to be able to hire an attorney.

Utah Code Ann. 34A-1-309(4) states that where the claims that can be filed with the court involve only medical expenses, or involve medical expenses and less than $4,000 in benefits to the injured worker, attorney's fees can be awarded on the medical expenses and those fees are paid by the insurance company.  They are still computed using the normal attorney fee percentages (generally 25%) of the medical expenses, but the hospital/doctors still get their full payment.  The attorney fee is awarded in addition to the medical bills as an "add-on" fee.  You can read the statute here: http://le.utah.gov/code/TITLE34A/htm/34A01_030900.htm

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K. Dawn Atkin
Attorney with Atkin & Associates
(801) 521-2552
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