This Is How Personal Injury Lawyer Fees Work
Trying to figure out how personal injury lawyer fees work? Looking to make sure you don’t lose out on a large chunk of settlement money? Well, you’re in the right place. As in this article, we will cover the most prominent structure for personal injury attorney fees.
Not only will we cover the contingency fee structure, but also share with you how you can negotiate your fees.
Keep reading to learn more.
The Contingency Fee Structure
In the majority of cases of personal injury matter, the services of an attorney will be offered via a contingency fee structure. This means that the fees for representing you will be deducted from the settlement of your personal injury case, or from the damages paid out for a successful verdict (that’s if you make it to a court trial, which is quite rare).
If you don’t achieve a successful outcome, the lawyer will receive no fees. This might seem like a great deal, and it is – but there are some things you need to know before you hire an attorney.
Most contingency structures provide the attorney with a 33% to 40% stake in your settlement, but you should always try to negotiate or provide an alternative. In any case, for unknown to us reasons, the median of all fees is 33%.
If you’re interested in how St.Louis lawyers do it, check it out.
The Contingency Upon Phase Agreement
Another thing to be aware of is the contingency upon phase agreement, which is often employed in personal injury cases. This means that the percentage of the lawyer’s fee will vary, depending upon the state on which the case has been resolved.
For instance, your attorney sends a demand letter to the other party. They might reciprocate instantly with a counteroffer, and after negotiation, a fair settlement might be reached without even filing a lawsuit in the courts.
In this case, the percentage at the least might be 33% of the settlement. But if the settlement happens to occur after lawsuit filing, the lawyer might write down in a contract that his fee changes to 36%.
How much are you willing to give up will determine how much your lawyer might be willing to charge you for the phase of settlement.
How to Negotiate A Reduction in Contingency/Combination Fee?
Before you even speak with a lawyer, there’s a high likelihood of you already analyzing your accident, collected all of the necessary documents, and spoke with the insurance company about raising the settlement offer.
If you have done so, you already have done most of the work for the lawyer. Due to this, the attorney might be willing to take on the case at the lower percentage rate of 33%.
So make sure to bring all verifiable documentation to your consultation, and show the lawyer that you have collected and organized everything, as need be. If you can provide them with good reason that most of the weight has been taken off their shoulders, they will be willing to reciprocate with fee reduction.
And in most cases, a lawyer will never be the first to propose a reduction. So it’s your job to be confident and speak your mind. Not to mention, most lawyers will be hesitant to agree, because who doesn’t like money, especially for work?
But that’s mostly in part that somebody who does not have lawyer expertise has done their work, and they fear they will have to do it all over again. So make sure your information is accurate and valuable.
Reduce the Settlement Negotiation Fee
You should be the one to propose a reduced contingency fee reduction, in the case of settlement being reached in negotiation. So you could propose a 26% contingency fee for a negotiated settlement and then raise to 33% for post-lawsuit settlement.
And that’s only fair because any case that starts to move towards trial requires lots of complex legal documents and hard work that cannot be done by you.
Reduce Fee and Cap At Limit
You could also attempt to create an agreement, which will cap the contingency fee, depending on the settlement amount. So if you were to receive a specific amount and a little bit over it, the fee would be 26%. Whereas, any settlement beyond the limit will provide the lawyer with a 33% fee.
This type of agreement ensures that you don’t get less, even if the lawyer gets paid more than what you agreed upon in the first place.
Hourly Limited Payment
You could also propose an hourly fee to the lawyer, based on a specified limit. So if the claim has not been settled by a lawyer doing the work for that amount, the fee will switch to the basis contingency agreement.
This can be helpful if you think you will settle before you even go to court and that you have already collected all of the evidence.
Are There Any Expenses?
When it comes to expenses for personal injury cases, there are plenty. But in most cases, the injury lawyer will be the one to cover them, and in the end – they usually deduct them from the damages or settlement.
It’s very rare for a lawyer to charge expenses at the point of them being due. However, make sure they can explain each cost and expense on the list, so you’re not stuck with unbeknownst settlement reductions.
Some of the expenses that might be included are:
- Filing fees
- Witness fees
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Trial exhibits
The longer the case goes on, the more expenses will be employed in the process. So if the case goes to trial, with all of the expenses and fees, the cut might amount up to 60% of the settlement.
Personal Injury Lawyer Fees Explained
Now that you know how personal injury lawyer fees work, you are well on your way to ensuring that you don’t get lead into legal traps.
By negotiating your fees, collecting all of the necessary documentation, and settling before court filing – you minimize the fee of the lawyer and increase your take in the settlement.
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