In personal injury claims, the claimant has to hire an attorney to approach the court of law and settle issues. If you plan to file a suit for personal injury claims and are curious about the lawyers’ fees in personal injury cases, you have come to the right place.
This article will discuss the payment arrangement between attorney and client in personal injury cases and how much money your lawyer will be entitled to receive from you.
There are two options available to the claimant. You can pay your lawyer on an hourly basis and enter into a financial arrangement in which your lawyer will be entitled to receive fees from the start of the professional engagement.
If you have the financial means, you can enter into this form of financial arrangement. However, in the majority of cases, it is difficult for people to come up with a lot of money to pay a lawyer.
Contingency fee agreements
Lawyers have come up with an alternate arrangement, commonly known as a “contingency fee arrangement.” According to this arrangement, the attorneys take up a claim of a person on a contingent basis. That means they do not charge any payment upfront and bear the costs associated with courts until the final settlement of the case.
Fundamentally, the lawyer and client agree to an agreement in which the lawyer will be entitled to receive a particular percentage from the client’s final settlement. It is based on contingency, which means the lawyer will be entitled to receive payment only if he is successful in the settlement.
If you have decided to enter into a contingency fee agreement, you should be conversant with the following facts.
- If your lawyer succeeds in getting a settlement in your case, you will have to pay two things to your lawyer, i.e., the contingency fee and all the necessary costs and expenses incurred in bringing your case to the courts of law.
- The contingency fee is the percentage of your settlement that you agreed to pay to your lawyer in exchange for their services. The average fee percentage charged by lawyers in personal injury cases is 33 percent. However, if the case is not settled and goes to trial, the percentage will increase to 40 percent. The percentage may vary from one state to another, and it may also vary with different law firms.
- In addition to contingency fees, you will have to reimburse the necessary cost and expenses incurred by your lawyer throughout the process. These costs include collecting and copying medical records, court filing fees, court reporter fees for deposition transcript, hourly fees for expert testimony and investigation cost, etc.
It is instrumental in entering into a written agreement and elucidating all the terms and conditions agreed between the lawyer and client.
If you have agreed to hire an attorney, you have to ensure the terms of the arrangement are explicitly mentioned in the written agreement. This agreement should provide the percentage agreed between the two parties for contingency fees.
The agreement should also cover the financial arrangement for the reimbursement of necessary costs incurred by your lawyer.
The two types of contingency arrangements
In the first arrangement, the lawyers deduct the reimbursement amount from the final settlement and then deduct their contingency fees.
For example, you have agreed to pay 30 percent from your settlement amount to your lawyer for contingency fees, and your lawyer is successful in getting a settlement of $20,000. Then, you also have to reimburse $3,000 to your lawyer for the expenses incurred throughout the case.
If the costs are deducted before fees are calculated, the $3,000 is first deducted from the final settlement of $20,000, leaving $17,000. Out of which, your lawyer will be entitled to 30%.
In the second type of arrangement, the lawyer first deducts contingency fees from the settlement amount and then deducts the reimbursement amount. For example, the final settlement is $20,000, and the agreed contingency fee is 30 percent. So your lawyer will deduct the 30 percent first and then subtract the reimbursement amount from the remaining amount. In this scenario, the client is left with a lesser amount.
It is essential to discuss the terms, negotiate a deal yourself, and make sure all the terms and conditions are properly documented in a written agreement to prevent any future issues.