“How do personal injury attorneys get paid?”
If you have considered hiring a personal injury lawyer, or even just watched daytime television, you have probably heard the classic “we only get paid if you get paid” promise from a lawyer. But you might also question, is this really true?
What this promise refers to is called a contingency fee—and it is a real thing! This arrangement means you never make an out-of-pocket payment, and your attorney does not charge an hourly fee. So then how do attorneys get paid for their time? Let’s explore a little bit more about what this means for a client as they decide to pursue a personal injury case, and answer the question “How do personal injury attorneys get paid?”
How Does a Contingency Fee Work?
When a client and an attorney establish a contingency fee agreement, this is a contract where the attorney agrees to work on your case in exchange for a percentage of the final settlement or verdict amount. At BB&C, we consider the circumstances of each case when agreeing on this percentage with our clients, including:
- The complexity of the case
- Nature and extent of the injuries and damages in the case
- The individual needs of our client(s)
Part of the benefit of the free legal consultation we offer is exploring these details with our clients and getting to know the unique situation. We explain our perspective fully to our clients and enter into a conversation about the contingency fee agreement, making sure all parties understand everything before we proceed.
Remember, it is important to make sure this document is signed before proceeding with hiring an attorney, to protect yourself from getting an hourly bill from the attorney further down the road.
What is the Benefit of a Contingency Fee?
The benefit of a contingency fee for a personal injury client is, if you do not win a settlement or verdict in the case, you do not pay an attorney fee. We see this as a benefit too, because you should not be hesitant to explore your rights under the law because of finances. A contingency fee agreement allows everyone equal opportunity to access quality legal services, even when they may not have the up-front resources to pay a retainer. Lastly, a contingency fee agreement creates additional incentive for attorneys to do their very best work on your case.
Are There Any Risks with an Attorney Contingency Fee?
When working under a contingency fee agreement, a lot of the risks are on the part of the attorney because they may not get paid. But it is also important for the plaintiff to understand exactly the terms of the agreement. Many times, a contingency agreement includes two classifications: percent of the final amount, as well as expenses. The percent of the final amount paid to the attorney will be distinct from the cost of expenses associated with the case. These expenses include costs like:
- Filing fees
- Deposition costs
- Expert witnesses
- Accident reconstruction
- Long-distance charges
- Digital research fees
- Mediation expenses
The additional nature of these expenses is why we at BB&C prioritize keeping our clients in direct contact with their attorney. You deserve to know how these additional expenses are adding up at every step of the case because, at the end of the case, they will be part of the settlement disbursement. Just because a contingency fee agreement means you don’t pay anything up front, doesn’t mean you should get hit with a surprise at the end of the case.
Bennett Boehning & Clary are grateful for the opportunity of contingency fee agreements because they allow us to represent clients in need. After a personal injury like a car accident or slip and fall, expenses like medical bills and lost wages add up to put many individuals in a stressful situation. It is our job to help resolve this stress, not add to it with more charges. With transparent communication, a contingency fee agreement means everyone can walk away satisfied at the end of the successful case.
We believe that every injury case is unique and can be decided on tiny details. Reach out to us at 765-742-9066 if you need an advocate and someone to fight for you.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.