Many people do not call a personal injury lawyer for help because they believe they cannot afford to hire an attorney. A contingency fee agreement means you do not have to pay any money upfront to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your accident case. Continue reading to learn more about this arrangement.
What Is a Contingency Fee in a Personal Injury Case?
Some attorneys charge for their services by collecting a retainer fee and billing an hourly rate. Others may charge a flat rate fee for services. Personal injury lawyers generally use a contingency fee arrangement.
A contingency fee means you agree to pay a lawyer a portion of your personal injury recovery for their legal fees. If the attorney recovers money in your case, they’ll deduct the agreed percentage from the awarded amount. If the attorney does not recover money in your personal injury claim, you do not owe them any money for their legal services.
Why Would an Attorney Agree To a Contingency Fee?
Injured parties may be out of work for an extended period while they recover from their injuries. As a result, they might not have the funds to hire a lawyer to handle their case.
However, they need a personal injury lawyer to protect them against insurance companies and large corporations that work to underpay and deny injury claims. Contingency fees allow injured victims to hire experienced accident attorneys, regardless of the person’s financial situation.
Since the contingency fee is directly tied to the personal injury recovery amount, the attorney has a strong incentive to recover maximum compensation for the client. The attorney is taking a risk with the client on the outcome of the case. Therefore, lawyers believe they can win the case if they are willing to accept the case on a contingency fee basis.
How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge for a Contingency Fee?
Various factors impact the contingency fee a lawyer charges a client.
Factors that could impact the fee include:
- The lawyer’s experience and track record
- The location of the law firm and the jurisdiction for the case
- The complexity of the case and the parties involved
- What other lawyers with similar experience charge for similar cases
- How much work the attorney anticipates the case will require
Many attorneys charge 33% for a contingency fee. That amount often increases if the attorney must file a lawsuit and go to court. The fee increases if the case goes to trial because there is much more work involved in preparing for and going to trial.
It is important to remember that you want to hire a lawyer with substantial experience in the area of law for your case to increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.
What Services Are Included in a Personal Injury Contingency Fee Agreement?
The contingency fee agreement should specify the services included and all the terms of the attorney-client relationship. In addition, the agreement should contain the specific percentage the lawyer charges and if the percentage increases for filing a lawsuit and/or going to trial.
Examples of the types of steps a personal injury attorney might take when handling a case include:
- Conducting an independent investigation to determine the cause of the client’s injuries
- Identifying all parties that could be liable for damages
- Identifying all insurance policies that could provide liability coverage
- Gathering evidence that proves fault for a claim
- Documenting the client’s damages to calculate the value of the claim
- Working with medical specialists, accident reconstructionists, financial professionals, and other expert witnesses, as necessary
- Filing insurance claims and handling all communications with the insurance company
- Advising the client throughout the claims process
- Negotiating a fair settlement amount for the claim
- Advising the client on whether a settlement offer is reasonable
- Advising the client on the risks of taking a case to court
- Monitoring deadlines to file claims and lawsuits
- Preparing and filing a lawsuit and going to trial if the other side refuses to negotiate a reasonable settlement amount
Each personal injury case is unique. Therefore, your lawyer may need to take additional steps to pursue your claim.
What About the Costs of Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim?
Most law firms pay the costs of the case as they incur them. The lawyer will deduct the expenses from the settlement proceeds to reimburse the firm.
The costs of a case could include:
- Fees for obtaining accident reports and police reports
- Medical records fees
- Copying and postage costs
- Travel expenses
- Deposition fees
- Expert witness fees
- Trial preparation
Before signing a fee agreement or retainer agreement, ask questions about the costs of the case. Specifically, ask who is responsible for the fees if the lawyer does not recover money for your claim. Are you required to reimburse the law firm for fees if they lose your case?
Contact a Tifton Personal Injury Lawyer To Discuss Your Case and Their Contingency Fee Arrangement
Talking to a personal injury attorney about your case typically does not cost you anything. Call (229) 386-1376 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Tifton personal injury attorney at The King Firm to discuss your injuries. You can afford to hire a lawyer to handle your case if they use contingency fee agreements.