How Much Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Charge for My Case?
The two main ways lawyers charge to take on cases are a retainer or contingency fee. A retainer fee means you will pay the lawyer an agreed-upon amount upfront to represent you. On the other hand, a contingency fee means the lawyer only gets paid if you recover compensation from a settlement, arbitration award, or jury verdict. Generally, a personal injury lawyer works with contingency fees.
What is a Contingency Fee Agreement?
A contingency agreement outlines terms in which your lawyer will receive payment and what percentage they will receive of your compensation if you win your case. This percentage changes depending on how long it takes to settle your claim.
Some cases settle quickly and don’t require a lawyer to file a lawsuit. In this case, a lawyer could receive around 33% of your settlement. Other times, a case gets more complicated, and a lawyer might have to file a lawsuit which could end in a trial. Under these circumstances, their increased time means an increased percentage, like 40%.
Most personal injury cases, such as slip and falls, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and workers’ compensation work under a contingency fee basis.
What Do Contingency Fees Cover?
A lawyer’s percentage in their contingency fee is typically based on several factors, including skill, experience, time, preparation, and more. The bulk of a personal injury lawyer’s time is spent preparing for depositions, mediations, hearings, and trials—all of which will be recovered if you are awarded compensation.
What if My Personal Injury Case Does Not Recover Anything?
If, after everything, your case doesn’t end with you recovering monetary compensation, unless your contingency agreement states otherwise, your lawyer will not receive any fees.
Should My Contingency Fee Agreement be in Writing?
You and your lawyer must have the contingency fee agreement in writing and signed by each of you. If your lawyer does not put this in writing, that is a red flag and you should either request it in writing or look for a different lawyer.
Generally, lawyers offer free initial consultations where they review the facts of your case and decide whether to take it. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask questions about how they charge for their services, so you aren’t surprised by any fees later on.
A good lawyer will be open and honest about their fees and services and make sure you understand everything before signing them as your representation in your personal injury case.