There’s a common misconception out there that hiring a lawyer is going to cost an outrageous amount of money. While that might be true in certain aspects of the legal field, personal injury is not one of them. Why is that? Because personal injury cases are one of the few types of litigation where attorneys are paid through a contingency arrangement and not a billable hourly rate.
This article will help you understand the process of securing a personal injury lawyer. And remember, if you need legal assistance after an accident caused by someone else, our Nix Patterson personal injury attorneys are ready to be your passionate legal advocates.
Contingency fee arrangements compensate most personal injury lawyers. You do not pay an attorney for their legal services by the hour. Instead, the only fee you pay is when the attorney charges you a percentage of your settlement or verdict award. Contingency fee agreements are frequently used in car accidents, truck accidents, and wrongful death claims.
What happens if the attorney doesn’t win your case? You probably won’t owe the law firm any money. Contingency fees are a crucial part of personal injury compensation; after all, many injured parties cannot work because of their injuries and probably cannot afford billable rates of $200 or more per hour.
Contingency fees create a win-win for the injured client. First, you don’t pay upfront legal fees when you can least afford it. Second, the attorney’s compensation is directly tied to how much money they get you at the settlement table or in court. Contingency fees provide an enticing incentive for attorneys to work tirelessly for their clients, and they only take cases that will probably result in compensation.
Contingency fee costs depend on the law firm and the nature of the particular case. Many law firms charge a contingency fee between 33% and 40% of the total money you receive at the end of the case.
The contingency fee may be approximately 33% if the case settles during settlement negotiations and before a lawsuit is filed. The fee could be 40% if the case goes to a jury verdict. Some law firms may offer a contingency fee as low as 25% for smaller cases that settle quickly. However, every personal injury law firm has a different pay structure, so verify what your attorney’s is in writing before you agree to representation.
There are other expenses in a personal injury claim or lawsuit besides legal fees. Some of these expenses can include:
How these expenses are paid for and billed depends on the attorney. Some personal injury attorneys could have you front some of these costs, but others may deduct all legal expenses from your settlement check at the end of the case. Double-check your legal representation paperwork to understand how your attorney is paid and when.
As explained earlier, the typical contingency fee is between 25% and 40%, based on how complex the case is and when it settles or goes to court. If you win a $100,000 settlement and you agree to a 30% contingency fee at the start of the case, you would be billed $30,000 in legal expenses and related costs, and the remaining $70,000 would go to you.
However, if you still owe medical providers for your injury treatments, those would usually be deducted from the $70,000 before you receive the balance. Medical providers typically establish a medical lien on any settlement or award, so they are paid before you receive your funds.
As this article shows, personal injury attorneys do have a cost when they win a case, but they also have the years of skill and experience in personal injury litigation to fight for maximum compensation. Insurance companies like it when injured clients, desperate for money, represent themselves in complex personal injury cases. They know they will often get the injured person to settle for far too little.
On the other hand, your personal injury lawyer levels the legal playing field and ensures you’ll have a fair fight with the defendant’s insurance attorneys. Your attorney knows roughly what your case is worth and how to negotiate for it with the insurance company. Other things your attorney will do on your behalf are:
Personal injury attorneys do a lot of work to earn money at the end of a case. While the fee might seem high at first glance, remember that the attorney takes a risk of not getting paid at all by accepting your case. They do not get paid if the case ends in no settlement or a disfavorable verdict.
Also, your personal injury attorney might save you money when it’s time to pay your healthcare providers for their services at the end of the case. This is called the healthcare subrogation process. This can significantly impact how much compensation you can secure.
Suppose you are in a car crash and must go to the ER, and the visit costs $10,000. Your health insurance company doesn’t pay the entire bill but only pays $500 for now. Your healthcare provider will then make a subrogation claim to be repaid that $500.
Your personal injury attorney is aware of all insurance payments made and can try to reduce how much you pay back to the healthcare provider. If the attorney can get the medical provider to accept less, this could give you more money for your recovery. Negotiating with medical providers who are owed at the end of the case is an important, less-understood benefit of hiring a personal injury lawyer.
Taking on an aggressive, stingy insurance company when you are overwhelmed with injuries and lost income isn’t an enticing proposition. The insurance company has all the leverage and experience, and if you go it alone without an attorney, you probably will end up with a lower settlement than you deserve.
Let’s even the odds – work with a Nix Patterson personal injury attorney who will hold the insurance company lawyers to account. Contact Nix Patterson’s personal injury attorneys today. We offer free consultations, and you will not pay a penny in legal fees unless we win your case.
Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below.
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