If you have been a victim of personal injuries arising from an incident such as a car accident, truck accident, medical malpractice, or slip and fall accident, you will likely need to file a claim against the parties at fault to recover your losses. The party at fault could be a nurse, another driver or land or business owner. Regardless of the responsible party, you will probably consider hiring the services of a personal injury lawyer, or alternatively, you can file a claim by yourself. Filing your own claim will save you attorneys fees, although you will also be venturing into an unfamiliar area of the law. Insurance companies may take advantage of your lack of knowledge, and only offer a fair settlement after negotiations with a personal injury lawyer.
The first question that many victims ask when contemplating hiring our lawyers is basically the amount of money they will be charged for legal representation. It is very important for you to ask this question before putting pen to paper and signing with a lawyer. In most cases, you will be surprised to learn that majority of law firms have their payments structured without any upfront costs to the client to ensure that the victim is not financially drained while seeking both medical treatment and legal help during an already difficult time.
There are many ways through which you can personally arrange for payments with your attorney, and that fact that you cannot afford a lawyer should never lock you out of justice for your case. Once your legal rights as an accident victim have been forfeited, your chances of seeking legal redress for your incident are also lost. Never allow the negligent parties in your case to walk scot free because you don’t meet monetary requirements brought forward by your lawyer. There is always room for civil litigation on a contingency basis, and in fact, most personal injury firms use it.
What Is A Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee basically refers to a mode of payment where the victim (plaintiff) hires the services of a lawyer without having to pay any costs upfront. In this case, the lawyer will help their client seek justice in terms of monetary compensation for injuries sustained, and will have their attorneys fees taken as a percentage of the total amount awarded as compensation. This means that the lawyer will have to win the case for their client in order to get paid their attorneys fees. Failure to do so leaves them with nothing. This way, the attorney’s interests perfectly align with the clients: receive the highest amount in compensation.
The majority of personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, but the lawyer’s percentage of the total settlement varies depending on the law firm, the state in which they practice, and the amount of work required. For this reason, it is recommended that you engage in talks with your lawyer to ascertain the exact percentage of their fee for the work performed. Luckily, these fees are often negotiable, but should always be done before hiring your lawyer.
What Determines The Amount I Will Pay As Contingency Fee?
Basically, a contingency fee often runs between a 33.3% to 40% of the total amount awarded in settlement or by the jury, and any amount beyond this is likely unnecessarily high. If your lawyer charges an unconscionable percentage for your case, the law provides for a lawsuit against your attorney to nullify or reduce that amount. So, what determines the amount you should pay your personal injury lawyer as contingency?
There are wide arrays of factors that affect the amount paid to your lawyer, and they are the reasons why the fees vary from time to time. One of the greatest determinants is time. The longer your case takes, the higher the amount of money you are going to pay your lawyer. For example, your lawyer will write a demand letter to the defendant or insurance company before filing a lawsuit. If both parties agree to settle your case out of court, then there will be no need for proceeding to trial. As a result, your lawyer should ask for a smaller percentage than if you were to proceed to litigation.
On the other hand, if your insurance company fails to honor their pledge out of court, and you and your lawyer seek legal redress in a court of law, you should be ready to come across a higher contingency fee. Additionally, if your initial lawsuit fails and your lawyer files an appeal in your case, you can expect an even higher contingency fee of 45% or more, as appeals require considerably more work. However, before hiring your lawyer, you should have an in-depth understanding of the structure of attorneys fees, and all additional costs you may incur. Some of these costs include, but are not limited to:
- Investigation fees
- Filing fees
- Expert witness fees
- Fees for Requesting Medical Records
- Police Reports
- Process Service Fees
Hourly Billing Rate
In this type of payment system, you will pay your personal injury lawyer for every hour they work on your case, regardless of the outcome. You must pay them whether the case is won or lost. Hourly billing rates are not common for a number of reasons. The first is that you will be required to pay for legal services before you are actually represented in court. This could be difficult especially when you have the daunting task of raising enough money for medical treatments. Second, hourly billing rates are less popular because your lawyer may end up being paid more than you will receive at the end of the case, leaving you financially worse off for having pursued this lawsuit. Sadly, if your personal injury lawyer advises you to work on an hourly billing rate, it could possibly mean that your case is weak, and your attorney should inform you as much.
Contact Our Office Today
At Lone Star Injury Attorneys, we perfectly understand that your finances may be tight when seeking legal help. For this reason, we have a transformative agenda in place to help you seek medical help while still working on your rights as an accident victim. Our contingency fee structure is mindful of your needs. Furthermore, it aligns the interests of the attorney and the client, therefore building a sense of trust between you and our experienced legal team. Call us today, and our legal representatives will help you schedule a free and confidential consultation.