After getting hurt in an accident, you will quickly require financial support to help pay for your recovery. You may also realize that your chances of getting fair compensation for your injuries dramatically increase when an experienced personal injury lawyer represents your case.
But how much will it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer? What percentage do personal injury lawyers take? The good news is that quality legal representation will usually cost you nothing until your claim is won. However, it’s always a good idea to confirm exactly what your attorney will be paid and how he or she will be paid, before you sign any agreement.
How Much of a Settlement Does a California Personal Injury Lawyer Receive?
In a standard injury case in Los Angeles, your lawyer would earn one-third (33%) of any settlement if a claim is settled before the filing of a lawsuit.
Typically, an attorney can ask for forty percent (40%) of your award if a case is resolved after a lawsuit is filed either by way of settlement or verdict. The percentage can vary depending on the risk and complexity involved in your case. If a case will take considerable work hours for an attorney and legal assistants to present properly, an attorney may decide to require a bigger percentage of the potential award to take your case.
The percentage the attorney takes from the case should never be kept a mystery. A professional attorney will discuss this fee with you from the very start and it will appear on the agreement you sign allowing the attorney to represent you.
Finding a law firm, like the Law Offices of Steers & Associates, with a proven track record of success and the resources to properly research and support your case provides a tremendous advantage.
How Does an Attorney Get Paid after a Personal Injury Settlement?
For potential clients, it’s also fair to inquire about how your attorney gets paid once you win your case. Again, this is another detail that a trustworthy law firm will insist on reviewing with you before you sign any agreement.
In most cases, you won’t have to worry over the payment of your personal injury lawyer. The opposing party, the person or party who caused your injury, is notified of your representation and contact information for the law firm representing you.
The money dispensation is usually handled in several steps:
- A check is issued from the defendant’s insurance company’s bank and sent to your representative law firm.
- The money is then deposited in the attorney’s client trust account.
- The money spent on building your successful case is deducted, including court fees, documents retrieval charges, and investigative costs.
- Medical liens involved with your case are paid.
- Your attorney’s percentage of the award is subtracted.
- You receive your share.
What is a Contingency Fee?
When you don’t have to pay your attorney unless you win, you are proceeding under a contingency fee arrangement. The lawyer fronts all costs to move a claim or lawsuit forward on your behalf.
The lawyer’s payment is based on a percentage of the total settlement amount or verdict. Contingency fees are established at the onset of the legal agreement.
To officially allow a personal injury lawyer to represent your case, you’ll be asked to sign a contingency agreement. Never sign any document until you’ve read it and understand it. If you don’t understand something in the contract, you can always ask your potential attorney. You are permitted to get another lawyer to read over any contracts before you agree to them.
Are Contingency Fees Risky?
The biggest advantage of signing a contingency agreement is that the lawyer fronts all costs to move a claim or lawsuit forward on your behalf. Those costs generally become your lawyer’s concern if your case is unsuccessful. You essentially face no risk when filing a claim or a lawsuit against those at fault for your accident.
When lawyers work on a contingency basis, it allows anyone to seek justice after an accident no matter their financial situation.
The prospect of having to cover every cost of case preparation is also a strong motivation for attorneys.
Costs of Losing a Case Under a Contingency Fee
Generally, you won’t owe anything if your case doesn’t successfully earn a settlement or judgment. There are fees that are paid in the aftermath of an unsuccessful trial, but those expenses are usually absorbed by the attorney. Again, it’s important to know for sure what you’ll be responsible for before you sign an agreement with an attorney.
These are the risks that attorneys accept with contingency fee cases. Since you usually aren’t required to pay anything until you win, all court fees, legal research, work hours, and the cost of expert witnesses are covered by the attorney. This can add up to thousands of dollars before the case even reaches the negotiation phase or a courtroom.
The attorney agrees to accept these costs and loses everything invested in the case if the case does not result in a recovery. It’s only when a case is won that an attorney is reimbursed for the costs of moving an injury claim forward and his or her time spent on the claim. Because attorneys absorb this risk upfront, they are justified in asking for a fair percentage of the settlement.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Serving Southern California
The best thing to do when you are severely injured in an accident due to someone else’s carelessness is to talk to a local personal injury attorney in LA. Even if choose not to proceed with our representation, we still want you to be aware of what legal options are available to you.
Contact the Law Offices of Steers & Associates for a free, no-obligation consultation to find out how we can help you.
Allen Vaysberg practices personal injury law and works tirelessly to defeat the tactics of insurance companies and large corporations who try to deny justice and fair compensation to injured people.