How Do I Pay For My Injury Lawyer?
Typically, the legal fees for representing a client in personal injury cases are removed from the ultimate personal injury settlement in the client’s case—or the damages award after a successful verdict, in the rare circumstance that the client’s case makes it to a court trial. If the client does not receive a favorable conclusion (in other words, does not receive any money), the lawyer does not receive any fees. Before you hire a personal injury lawyer, here’s what you should know.
Attorneys for Plaintiffs in Personal Injury Cases
The most important factor to consider is that most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that the attorney will not charge legal fees until the client has received payment. This charge is typically a proportion of the money collected from a personal injury settlement or court judgment following a trial (about 33 1/3 to 40 percent).
While the contingency fee arrangement is pretty simple, there are a few modifications to consider, such as:
Mixed hourly/contingent: In this scenario, Even if the plaintiff loses, the attorney receives a lower hourly rate for work accomplished. On the other hand, the attorney will be paid a “bonus” if the lawsuit is won or settled. This bonus can be a higher hourly rate or a percentage of the total amount recovered.
Sliding scale contingency: This works similarly to a straight contingency fee arrangement, except that the fee percentage is on a sliding scale that increases as the case advances. For example, the fee percentage could be as 33 1/3% the case settles before a lawsuit must be filed. However, if the plaintiff wins after filing a lawsuit,, the attorney’s fee may be 40% of the judgment given to the plaintiff.
Contingency hourly: Like a straight contingency fee arrangement, the plaintiff’s lawyer is not paid unless the client receives a recovery. However, unlike a straight contingency fee arrangement, the amount received by the attorney is contingent on the time spent working on the case. This type of settlement is uncommon in a personal injury case unless the plaintiff can recover attorney’s fees from the losing defendant. In many jurisdiction this type of fee is not allowed.
Expenses and Costs
Most personal injury attorneys will handle case costs and expenditures as they arise, deducting them from your part of the settlement or court award. It’s uncommon for a personal injury attorney to bill a client for expenditures and expenses as they accumulate.
Expenses and charges in a personal injury case may include:
- Medical Records
- Filing Fees
- Police Reports
- Expert Witness Fees
- Trial Exhibits.
- Investigators And Experts
Costs and expenses can quickly mount, especially if a settlement is not reached until near trial. The lawyer’s final share, including reimbursement for all fees, charges, and expenditures, could be as high as 45% to 60% of the settlement.
Let’s say you settle your personal injury lawsuit for $30,000 after it’s been filed. Your lawyer paid for a total of $4,000 in various costs and expenses. As lawyer’s expenses, the lawyer will receive 40% of the settlement sum, or $12,000. The lawyer will deduct $4,000 from the $30,000 payment for costs and expenses. The lawyer will receive $16,000 of the total settlement sum in this case.
The Settlement Check Will Be Delivered to Your Attorney
It is standard practice for the insurance company or defendant to send the settlement check to the lawyer. This guarantees that your lawyer will be compensated for their efforts. However, many personal injury lawyers only take cases on a contingency basis, which means they may not be compensated if the settlement check is not received. When the lawyer gets the settlement check, he or she should contact you and present you with an itemized account of what they deduct from your settlement check to cover the lawyer’s fees, costs, and expenditures. If you disagree with a charge, your lawyer may put the money in a trust account until the problem is resolved.
If You Fire Your Attorney Before the Case Is Completed
Suppose you change lawyers or decide to represent yourself. In that case, your previous lawyer will have a lien for fees and expenses incurred on the case before the switch, and he or she may be able to sue both you (the former client) and the personal injury defendant for failing to protect and honor the attorney’s lien.
If you need to fire your lawyer, seek a formal agreement from them that they will not charge interest on fees or costs incurred in the case. This document should be delivered to the defendant prior to settlement to minimize any needless delays on the lien.
If you still have questions on how do I pay for my injury lawyer and or need help on a personal injury case, contact our experienced New Hampshire personal injury attorneys.