Most injury lawyers offer legal representation based on a contingency fee.
This fee provides significant benefits to injured clients. It allows you to reallocate your resources to caring for your health and surviving without a paycheck instead of spending money on lawyers.
Before you hire an injury lawyer, you need to understand how contingency fees work.
You must know how much you may pay for legal representation and what you will receive for your compensation. You must also know what issues you face in your personal injury case and what questions to ask a lawyer about their fees before hiring them.
How Do Attorney Fees Work?
Private lawyers typically charge for legal work. Usually, the fees they charge take one of the following forms:
Lawyers charge a flat fee for a distinct project. For example, a lawyer might charge a flat fee of $800 to write a will or file articles of incorporation. Lawyers will typically not quote a flat fee for an uncertain amount of work. Thus, you will probably not find a lawyer willing to take a personal injury case for a flat fee.
Lawyers charge an hourly fee for projects that have no defined ending point. Lawyers will typically quote an hourly fee in dollars per hour. The lawyer will track the time spent on the project and bill the client regularly for the fees incurred. This type of fee rewards the lawyer for the amount of work put into the case, regardless of the outcome.
Some injury lawyers charge an hourly fee, but most do not. An hourly fee can result in massive legal bills for a case, particularly if it goes to trial. Injured clients who cannot work do not need to add these unpaid legal bills to their financial woes.
Lawyers charge a contingency fee in cases they strongly believe will result in a settlement or damage award. They pledge to take a share of the recovery as their legal fee. Lawyers can offer contingency fees in all types of cases except criminal cases and certain family law matters.
Lawyers quote a contingency fee as a percentage that represents the share of the client’s compensation that will pay for legal work. Thus, a lawyer who quotes a 35% contingency fee will take that percentage of any settlement or damage award from the case as a legal fee.
This type of fee rewards the lawyer for the outcome obtained. If the lawyer obtains a larger settlement or damage award, the lawyer gets paid a greater fee.
Benefits of Contingency Fees for Clients
Contingency fees provide several benefits to clients. Since the legal fee gets paid at the end of the case, the lawyer will start on your case without requiring any upfront payment.
This means your lawyer will typically begin working on your case the day you sign the fee agreement and hire them. This work includes gathering evidence, such as your medical records and car accident reports.
The lawyer will also not charge any legal fees for a case in which you receive no compensation. It will not matter what percentage the lawyer quoted. Any percentage of zero is zero.
Finally, lawyers only offer a contingency fee for cases in which they have confidence. If a lawyer accepts your personal injury case, the lawyer has assessed the likelihood of success and is willing to accept the risk. This early assessment will give you the confidence to make informed decisions about your case.
Some people theorize that contingency fees make lawyers work harder on a case. However, under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers must always offer diligent representation regardless of the type of fee charged. Thus, a contingency fee should not affect the lawyer’s handling of your case or the amount of work they put into it.
What Is Included in the Contingency Fee?
Before you hire an injury lawyer, you should discuss the covered services.
Although fee arrangements may differ, most contingency fee lawyers will provide the following services without charging any additional fees:
- Communicating with you, including meetings, phone calls, and emails
- Preparing and filing your insurance claims
- Responding to any claim denials
- Negotiating with the claims adjuster to try to settle your claim
- Filing a lawsuit in cases that do not settle
- Preparing for trial by gathering evidence and filing motions
- Presenting your case to a judge or jury
Unless you agree otherwise, lawyers typically charge you for all litigation expenses. These expenses include court filing fees, court reporter fees, and expert witness fees. Lawyers pay these costs on your behalf to keep the case moving toward trial. But at the end of the case, you must reimburse the lawyer for them.
Contact a Laredo Personal Injury That Works on Contingency
Texas requires lawyers to provide written contingency fee agreements. Before you sign this agreement, you should review it carefully and ask about any terms you do not understand.
Contact our Laredo personal injury lawyer to learn more about contingency fees at Roderick C. Lopez Personal Injury Lawyers.
It’s best to hire a Laredo personal injury attorney, like Roderick C. Lopez Personal Injury Lawyers, to get started immediately on your case. That way you can focus on recovering while we handle your legal affairs. If you have any questions about economic damages, call our office at (956) 303-9238 for a free consultation.