If you are a personal injury victim, you’ll need legal representation. Hiring a personal injury lawyer is the best investment after being involved in an accident. With the best lawyer by your side, you stand a higher chance of winning the case. Your lawyer can prove that the defendant is responsible for your injuries. However, many people are hesitant about using an attorney to represent them due to the fees. Hiring an attorney who will fight for your rights means you will usually pay them a contingency fee rather than paying for their services up front.
In a personal injury case, attorneys are paid a percentage only if you win your case and costs from your recovery. This percentage or fee varies, so be sure the fee is reasonable before hiring an attorney. At Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, we only get paid from a portion of the settlement if we win your case. You pay nothing unless we recover for you.
What’s Covered This Article:
Contingency fees are not like hourly fees and are only payable when you win the case. You’ll only be charged a percentage of the settlement. If you lose the case, then you don’t owe the attorney anything. Contingency fees make accessing legal help affordable. The fees also give the lawyers an incentive to only take the cases they can handle. The contingency fee is always one-third of the final verdict, but it varies case by case. Make sure you discuss with your attorney the details of the contingency fee in advance.
All the personal injury cases are on a contingency fee basis. You negotiate the fee with the attorney before they take on the case. The negotiation determines the percentage the lawyer will receive as a settlement. The contingency fee percentage is usually between 30 and 40 percent. You’ll reach the final amount once the case has been concluded. For instance, if the insurance company gives a settlement of $200,000, then the personal injury lawyer will receive between $60,000 and $80,000.
How the Contingency Fee Percentage is Determined
The contingency fees vary from one law firm to another. In most contingency fee arrangements, the lawyer gets between 33 and 45 percent. You can negotiate on the specific percentage your lawyer gets. At times, the contingency fee percentage is determined by the level of the case. It’ll depend on the time it takes for the case to be concluded. The personal injury attorney fees depend on whether you make the settlement after filing a lawsuit or before. In sliding scale agreements, the following apply:
For a Case that is Settled Before a Lawsuit Complaint
The contingency fee is paid when the settlement occurs. In case the settlement or verdict has been received before the lawsuit, the amount the attorney receives will be capped at 30 percent. If the personal injury case has been settled before a lawsuit is filed, there is a cap of 33.33 percent or one-third on the settlement. Such a scenario occurs when the defendant has a strong case which results in the accused person going into negotiations to settle before the case is taken to court.
When the settlement is made before the lawsuit, the lawyer received a capped percentage because they don’t represent your case in court. For cases that are settled quickly, that is, before a complaint is filed in court, the lawyer receives a first-tier percentage. The percentage is about 35% but can go even higher, so be sure to negotiate these fees.
Personal Injury Case that Goes to Trial
In a case when a settlement is made after filing the lawsuit, the lawyer will receive a higher amount, which is around 40 percent. There are also other expenses if a lawsuit has been filed. If the personal injury case goes to trial, the cap is increased. The attorney will be given 45 percent of the recovery.
The attorney will also get 30 percent of the settlement for amounts between $1 million and $2million. For any settlement that exceeds $2million, the attorney receives 20 percent. If the case proceeds to a trial, the attorney’s fees will be higher. For cases that need lengthy trials, the percentage increases to 40%.
Personal injury Case Resulting in Structured Settlement
Cases can be settled by periodic payments rather than a one-lump settlement. In such cases, the contingency percentage is calculated on the cost of a structured settlement. The attorney fees are paid as a lump sum during settlement. Annuities and structured settlements are often seen with minors and disabled adult, providing lifetime income and protecting benefits.
Even though you don’t have to pay your lawyer unless you win the case, there are other expenses you need to pay for the whole process. Apart from the contingency fee, there are additional expenses deducted from your settlement amount. In this case, personal injury attorneys incur a cost that you don’t pay from your pocket. The amount they spend on the expenses will be deducted from the settlement amount. The repayment of these costs is also contingent and you’ll only pay if recovery is made.
The court costs and expenses differ from one lawyer to the next. Some lawyers will bill for the costs as they incur them. Others will keep track of the expenses and then deduct everything from the amount you get as settlement. It is, therefore, difficult to estimate the amount you’ll pay for the expenses. As the case drags on, you’ll end up paying more. Most personal injury lawyers cover case expenses as they arise. Once the case reaches a conclusion, they deduct the total amount of expenses from the settlement. Some expenses that your personal injury attorney will incur during your case include:
- Medical records
- Filing fees
- Police reports
- Trial exhibit
- Expert witness fees
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Attorney fees can be intimidating, especially when you don’t understand what is expected. You can rest easy hiring our firm because you will only pay when a recovery is made, and you will never pay for anything out of your own pocket.
At Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, we have dedicated attorneys with over 45 years of experience who will take you through the legal process in detail. We charge a reasonable fee for our services, so you can be comfortable when signing the contingency fee agreement. Contact us today to get quality legal help for your personal injury claim.