Personal Injury Lawyer
People often avoid filing personal injury lawsuits because they do not want the expense of hiring a private attorney, especially if they may lose the suit. Fortunately, most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning that the only way they receive a dime is if you win or settle your claim. Contingencies are the standard model for personal injury cases, but if you are unfamiliar with fee arrangements, the process can seem a little strange. Therefore, take a few minutes to learn about the fee structure and other common arrangements with personal injury claims.
Understanding the Contingency Fee
As the name implies, a contingency fee is an amount paid for a future event, which, in a personal injury case, is the settlement or favorable ruling of the claim. Most lawyers charge a fee anywhere between 33% and 40%.
Make sure you consider the benefits and drawbacks of such an arrangement. For example, you get the advantage of experience counsel arguing on your behalf, but if your case reaches a resolution quickly, the 33% fee can be steep.
Lawyers on Retainer
Unfortunately, not every lawyer will accept a client on contingency. If your claim seems like a lot of work or the prospect of a settlement or favorable verdict seems unlikely, you may need to hire a lawyer on a retainer or hourly fee. A retainer is used to ensure payment for services rendered, primarily you pay a sum early for the lawyer to begin work. Many people try to avoid this fee arrangement for personal injury claims, but if the case is a high risk, you may not have an option.
It surprises most plaintiffs when they receive a settlement smaller than they expected. While a contingency fee represents the lawyer’s overall fee, it does not represent every expense, especially for lengthy trials. You may still need to pay expert witnesses and filing costs. Make sure you clarify every out-of-pocket expense you may be charged. If you are concerned about additional charges, you can ask your attorney to check with you for any costs over a certain amount.
A lawyer may not cost you a penny initially for a personal injury case, but discuss all pertinent expenses before signing a contract to avoid any future misunderstandings. Contact a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Hickey & Turim, to get more information on contingency fee agreements and to understand the risks of your case.