The law requires attorneys to explain their fees. In most areas of law, the law firm and attorney have a rate they charge clients based on time increment that adds up to an hourly rate. Charges include when a lawyer speaks with the client or others regarding the case, research, preparing the case and time in court. Often law firms require a retainer, which is some money down to start the work.
Injury attorneys use a contingency fee
A personal injury attorney, on the other hand, works on contingency. This means that they are not paid unless they win the case in court or negotiating a settlement with the insurance company or defendant. The scale is generally about one-third of the total awarded in the final settlement or judgment. The judge understands this and generally awards an amount knowing that the attorney will get a portion. The client receives the other two-thirds. The percentage rate may vary, depending on the settlement amount, with a lower rate used for smaller settlement.
Why are contingency fees used?
Those who are severely injured are likely not working or may not usually afford an attorney’s fee. Even if the client does have savings or some income, it is much less than the money and resources that insurance companies have at their disposal. So the contingency fee levels the playing field by enabling the victim to have legal representation. Since the attorney is only paid if they win, it also prevents them from taking advantage of the client by handling a case, they know they will likely lose.
There will be costs
Attorneys and law firms work on contingency, but others do not. There are costs for filing the case, processing paperwork and other things. Expert witnesses often help strengthen a case, but a doctor who is an expert on back injuries or crash reconstruction expert are expensive. They may also require money for travel, hotels, case depositions (testimony) or other expenses. These costs must be paid regardless of whether the victim wins or loses.
Attorneys will explain this
Attorneys can draw upon their professional experience and training to determine how likely the client is to win their case, how much they expect the settlement to be, and how much the related costs will be. The client can then make decisions about how they want to pursue the case. This could mean accepting a settlement or going to trial.