What do you pay a personal injury attorney?
In a majority of the time a personal injury lawyer only gets paid when they win or settle their client’s cases. If your personal injury attorney is unsuccessful in your case, you will not have to pay them for their time and expenses. Most personal injury cases, a personal injury lawyer will charge a contingency fee. A contingency fee arrangement, the fee is dependent on if the outcome was successful or not.
If an attorney wins the case, he or she will take a percentage of the final settlement in a case or from the final verdict at trial. Prior to signing with a personal injury lawyer, the client will sign the agreement laying out the contingency terms.
The client will not owe lawyer’s fees if no money is recovered from the settlement or judgment. This arrangement balances the interests of both the client and the attorney.
This percentage varies usually between if a case settles prior to filing a personal injury lawsuit, usually a higher rate if a lawsuit is filed and then another rate if the case goes to trial.
With contingency rate personal injury cases the lawyer is taking a gamble on the case. During the course of litigation, some cases will settle, some will go to trial, and some will be appealed and perhaps tried multiple times. When the lawyer takes the case he or she is unaware how long the take will case, how much a jury may award, or if the case will get appealed. Regardless of the path your case goes, your personal injury attorney is committed to getting their client a win.
When a case usually concludes the settlement check to be sent to the lawyer. At that point the lawyer will go over the fees and expenses spent on the case and then will issue the client a check after deducting the expenses that were covered by the attorney.
Expenses are the out-of-pocket expenses that lawyers pay in the furtherance of a case and may be reimbursed for pursuant to the contingency fee agreement. In the agreement most personal injury lawyers will cover these costs and expenses that occur during the pendency of the case and then deduct those fees from the settlement or judgment. It is important to clarify if the lawyer’s percentage is calculated from the total settlement, or whether costs are deducted before the calculation is made. That is important to ask your attorney what this arrangement will be during the initial consultation.
Costs and expenses in a personal injury case may include:
- Court costs, such as filing and deposition fees
- Fees for investigators and expert witnesses
- Research service fees
- Trial exhibit preparation
- Copying, fax, postage and other office expenses
- Medical and police reports
- Travel costs
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