If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, a car crash or were bitten by a dog, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recoup money for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. Fortunately, you are still able to hire a personal injury lawyer, even if you do not have a lot of money. This is because more personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis and take a contingency fee, rather than charging you by the hour for their services. If you have never heard of this before, you may have many questions. Here are a few frequently asked questions about contingency fees and personal injury lawyers.
What is a Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee means that a lawyer takes a percentage of your settlement or award amount, rather than charging you by the hour for their services. So, for example, if the contingency fee is 25 percent, and you are awarded $20,000, a lawyer would take $5,000 and you would get the remaining $15,000. If you lose your case, the lawyer often gives up the right to recover any money from you.
How Much is a Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee varies from firm to firm. However, most states have a legal maximum amount that personal injury lawyers can charge in contingencies fees. In most states, this is 1/3 of the settlement. The amount of the contingency fee also varies based on competition in the area and a lawyer's experience. A lawyer who is fairly new to handling these types of cases may charge a lower contingency fee, such as 25 percent, to help drum up business and entice people to do business with them. In competitive areas, lawyers may also lower their fees to help obtain clients as well.
Can You Negotiate the Contingency Fee?
When you go to hire a personal injury lawyer, you can negotiate a contingency fee. Some people ask for a lower amount across the board, while others will request that the fees be lowered if the settlement hit the six or seven figure mark. However, keep in mind that the percentage for the contingency fees are included in the contract. As such, this should always be negotiated before the contract is signed and the contract should be updated to reflect the agreed upon amounts. Once the contract is signed, it is too late to negotiate the fees.
If you have been injured and someone else may be to blame, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault or negligent party. Don't let money stop you from getting the legal representation you may need. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, ensuring you can get the help you need even if you don't have the money to pay a lawyer upfront. Contact a firm, like Radano & Lide , for more help.