Most personal injury lawyers do not charge you a retainer or by the hour to hire them. Instead, they charge what is known as a contingency fee. A contingency fee means that they get a certain percentage of your settlement or award in exchange for representing you. This allows those who were injured to retain a lawyer, even if they do not have a lot of money. However, while it is common for personal injury lawyers to charge a contingency fee, there are some differences in these fees from lawyer to lawyer. Here are three questions you will want to ask a personal injury attorney about their contingency fees before you hire them.
What Happens If You Lose the Case?
One of the questions that you should ask a personal injury attorney about their contingency fee is what happens if they lose the case. Some attorneys will not charge you anything unless you win. Other attorneys have it written into their contract that you are responsible for a certain amount of fees if you do lose your case. Not every case is a clear-cut or a slam dunk case. Attorneys that tend to take on cases that are not clear winners are more likely to charge a fee if the case is not won.
Does the Fee Increase if the Case Goes to Trial?
When you are looking to hire an attorney, you likely already know to ask how much their contingency fee is. But what you may not realize is that some attorneys have one set contingency fee for settlements and a higher contingency fee for awards. This is because if you are given an award, your case has gone to trial, which is more costly and time consuming for the attorney. As such, you want to always ask if the contingency fee increases if your case goes to trial and how much that fee is compared to their settlement contingency fee.
What is Covered By the Contingency Fee?
The last question that you need to ask about a personal injury attorney's contingency fees is what is covered by those fees. Typically the fee covers the attorney's time, filing fees and interviewing and deposing witnesses. However, the contingency fee may or may not include the cost to hire expert witnesses, mediation fees, or the cost for you to see medical experts. In these cases, the attorney may ask for the money upfront for these additional fees or may subtract the amount from your award prior to taking their contingency fee, depending on how the contract is worded. Always make sure that you know what the contingency fee covers, so there are no surprises.
If you have been injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, have been injured by a faulty product, were the victim of medical negligence or were bitten by a dog, you may be able to file a personal injury case. An attorney can help to ensure you get the money you are entitled to for your injuries. Knowing what questions to ask about a contingency fee can help you find the right attorney for you.
Contact a personal injury attorney for more info.