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How Do I Pay My Personal Injury Lawyer?

March 29, 2021

how do I may my personal injury lawyerAt Flora Templeton Stuart Injury Accident Lawyers you never pay a dime unless we win your case. This means at our law firm the only fees we collect are from the settlement that we recover for you.

If we do not recover money for you then we are paid nothing. In addition, we keep our costs very low if we do not litigate or take the case to court. Once again, we do not get paid back any costs we expend except the money we collect from you. This is called a contingency fee.

What Are Contingency Fees?

A contingency fee means that any fee that the attorney will earn is contingent or dependent on collecting money or a recovery for the client in their personal injury case. A contingency fee personal injury lawyer receives an agreed-upon percentage of the amount of recovery awarded to the client obtained by the lawyer in the case.

This is set out in the contract that the personal injury attorney must have in writing with a client in both Kentucky and Tennessee where our law firm is licensed to practice. It is important that a contingency fee be in writing so the client is protected for the amount of the contingency fee they agreed upon is followed and there is no confusion. Never enter into a contingency contract or any contract without it being written and signed by all parties.

Contingency fees vary somewhat between law firms.  In a standard personal injury claim if the suit is not filed the most typical contingency fee arrangement is 33 1/3% to 35%. Some law firms will charge a higher amount of 40%.  Most do not charge less than 1/3 of recovery. In addition, the law firm will usually be entitled to reimbursed costs but at our firm, we keep those very low and usually no more than $150.

In cases where it is mediated which involves considerable work by the law firm or litigated which means if a suit is filed it can be a lengthy and costly process. A contingency fee is usually raised to 40% and sometimes 45% of the recovery.

Our law firm only recovers in the event of a successful lawsuit. With regard to costs for litigated cases, some of the general expenses are the filing of the suit in court (court costs), deposition costs where the sworn statement of the parties and witnesses are taken, the retaining and hiring of expert witnesses.

In the event of a trial, there are additional costs to not only pay for the experts to come to court but the issuance of subpoenas and other court costs. Complicated litigation can last two or more years. Our law firm has expended $100,000 in some of these cases where we have recovered in the millions for our injured clients.

Fortunately, most cases settle out of court. Only a very few with extraordinary injuries and ample insurance such as with a commercial truck are taken to court. Our firm has 45 years of litigation experience.  You always want to retain an experienced attorney to handle your personal injury case both in and out of court.

As you can see the financial risks of an attorney working on a contingency fee, especially if the case is litigated extensively in court can be significant.  The client is protected from taking this risk and it is all borne by the law firm.

Basically in all contingency fee cases, our attorneys take the risk, do all of the work which includes referral to physicians for treatment, gathering of medical records, retaining expert witnesses and accident reconstructionists to go to the scene of the collision or personal injury case, gathering up all medical records and bills, retaining economists when needed for lost wages, negotiating with the insurance company which involves extensive work presenting a demand.  In return, our attorneys will collect the percentage as agreed from the recovery by our clients.

When Does a Law Firm Take a Case on a Contingency Fee?

All experienced personal injury lawyers are very careful on accepting cases on a contingency fee basis since they will not get paid anything unless they recover money for the client and are successful. Therefore, we make sure in a personal injury case, which can include car accident, semi-truck collision, slip and fall, motorcycle accident, dog bite injury, wrongful death, or any type of case where the client has been injured due to the negligence of another person. In most cases, there needs to be insurance to collect from the person at fault.

Experienced personal injury lawyers make sure that liability can be established (our client was not the one at fault), and our client has been injured significantly enough to obtain settlement. In Kentucky, in order to collect in a vehicle accident the client must have obtained at least $1,000 in medical expenses, broken bones or permanent injury.

In soft tissue cases where the client does not have surgery or broken bones and treats regularly not only at the emergency room initially when the accident occurred but with reputable physicians and therapists or chiropractors.

In those cases we refer our injured clients to reputable physicians so we can obtain good medical records establishing their injury with excellent treatment. This is how we build a personal injury claim so in the end when the client recovers from their injuries we can collect a settlement with maximum value.

In catastrophic personal injury cases such as wrongful death, severe fractures, surgeries, or brain injuries if there is ample insurance to collect both from the defendant who is at fault such as a commercial vehicle, and from the underinsured policies we have obtained millions for our clients.

This takes hard work, experience in personal injury law along with a reputation with the insurance companies we will fight for our clients and go to court if necessary. In conclusion, personal injury law firms accept these cases on a contingency fee where there is good liability, significant injury, and insurance to collect damages.

Is it Required That the Attorney Have a Reasonable Contingency Fee Contract with the Client?

Yes. In both Kentucky and Tennessee and throughout the country the State Bar Associations regulating attorneys require that all contingency fee agreements be in writing and be reasonable. Therefore, for the attorney to receive the majority of the settlement and the client receiving very little would not be a reasonable contract.

At our law firm, we work hard to represent only the interests of our clients. We make sure the medical expenses are paid when the client settles and our clients when they settle receive a reasonable sum for their injuries after all expenses, attorney fees, and medical bills. It is very important at our firm to make our clients whole. It is not only our ethical duty to do so, but at our firm, we care about each and every client that we represent.

What are the Advantages to the Client for a Contingency Fee Arrangement?

In most cases, our injured clients could not afford experienced representation by a personal injury law firm if they had to pay by the hour for the representation and pay the costs upfront.  Therefore there is no financial risk to the injured person or our clients.  In fact, very few people could afford a lawyer if they had to pay attorney fees upfront or by the hour.

Contingency fees give the injured person the ability to retain an attorney who will represent them and only get paid if they are successful. If you or your loved one is injured due to someone else’s negligence they have a legal right to be compensated or paid for the damages they have suffered.

Those damages would usually include medical expenses, pain, and suffering, lost income, loss of future earning capacity, property damage and in some cases consortium claims where a spouse or children were seriously injured.

In virtually all of these cases, it is the insurance company who pays damages.  As many insurance companies have their own attorneys and attorney adjusters, they work to minimize the amount of damages to collect it is very important to have an attorney on your side with the resources and experience to collect the money that you deserve.

You Can Speak With Our Personal Injury Attorneys for Free

Flora on phone with clientAt Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers we will consult with you on the phone or in-person about your case free of charge and if we can help we often travel to our injured clients if they cannot come to us without charge.

We travel to our injured clients when they are unable to come to us. With offices throughout central Kentucky and northern Tennessee, we are convenient for our clients to meet.

You can contact us 24/7, even on weekends at 888-782-9090 if you have been injured due to the fault of someone else to chat with us without obligation.

Author Photo

Flora Templeton Stuart

Flora Templeton Stuart is the lead attorney and founder of the law firm Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, established in 1976. She is a nationally recognized personal injury lawyer with over 40 years of experience. Her story has been featured on Fox, The New York Times, ABC, Time, and NBC.