Law Offices of Robert Taylor
Represents Physically or Psychologically Injured Federal and U.S.P.S. Employees
All fees must be approved by the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs. No attorney may accept any attorney's fee unless and until approved by the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP), or by the Hearings & Review Branch (H&R) or by the Employees' Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB).
No attorney, in representing a Federal worker or a U.S.P.S. employee in his or her workers' compensation claim, may work on a contingency fee. In other words, no attorney may agree to accept some part of whatever is recovered in the Federal workers' compensation claim. Rather, attorneys providing services in Federal workers' compensation cases are required to bill by the hour pursuant to a contract with the client at an agreed upon hourly rate.
The Office of Workers' Compensation Programs does allow attorneys to have clients place funds into an escrow account (not their firm's office escrow account) to allow the client to pay on an ongoing basis rather than getting hit with an approved lump sum attorney's fee at the end of the case and, of course, to assure that the attorney is paid for services rendered. Again, however, the funds in the escrow account may only be billed against on paper and may not be touched until approval is received from the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP), or the Hearings & Review Branch (H&R) or by the Employees' Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB).
If any attorney asks you to pay funds up-front that are not placed into an escrow account and credited against billing or agrees to work or wants to work on a contingency fee basis, that attorney knows nothing about Federal workers' compensation and should not be employed.
Many times a Federal worker or a U.S.P.S. employee is injured as the result of the negligence of a 3rd party -- someone who is not a fellow Federal employee or not a fellow U.S.P.S. worker. Examples of that situation are when a Federal worker or a U.S.P.S. employee is driving a government or personal vehicle while on-the-job and a non-Federal employee or non U.S.P.S. employee runs his or her vehicle into the employee's vehicle or a private cleaning crew fails to put up warnings that a floor is wet, resulting in a government employee slipping and falling. In those and similar situations, the employee has both a claim for Federal workers' compensation before the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs and has the right to make a personal injury claim against the 3rd party. In such a situation, the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) requires that the Federal employee or U.S.P.S. employee bring a claim against that 3rd party to reimburse the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs for what it pays in lost wages, medical expenses, and possibly scheduled awards in the workers' compensation case. When representing a Federal worker or U.S.P.S. employee in a 3rd Party claim, an attorney may work on a standard contingency fee (33 and 1/3% or 40% of the amount recovered), but only with respect to the 3rd party case.
Many attorneys who handle personal injury accidents do not know that the Office of the Solicitor of the United States Department of Labor must approve all 3rd party settlements before the settlement is finalized. A failure to do so places continued Federal workers' compensation benefits at risk. Many attorney's who do personal injury work (automobile accidents, etc.) do not know of the requirement that the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs must be reimbursed out of the recovery in the 3rd party claim and are unfamiliar with the formula used to do so. A failure to properly satisfy the government's lien places continued Federal workers' compensation benefits at risk. For those reasons, the same attorney who is knowledgeable about handling your Federal workers' compensation claim, should handle your 3rd party liability claim if competent to handle both. The Law Offices of Robert Taylor routinely represents Federal and U.S.P.S employees in their related Federal workers' compensation claims and 3rd party claims.