There are multiple ways to hire and pay an attorney. These include flat fees, hourly fees, and contingent fees. It is also possible to use a combination of these. In most personal injury cases such as auto accidents, slip and falls, attorneys on a contingent fee basis handle dog bites and product liability.
A contingent fee is an agreement between the lawyer and client that the attorney will be paid a certain agreed percentage of the gross amount collected. Most contingent fee agreements also require that the client is responsible for any expenses incurred. Most jurisdictions require that you have a written fee agreement between yourself and your attorney explaining the agreement between the two of you.
Payment is only made to the attorney if monies are collected. Some agreements require the client to pay for expenses whether or not monies are collected. Most contingent fee arrangements provide for increased percentage amounts as the case progresses.
For example, the agreement may provide for an increased percentage if the attorney is required to file suit or if an appeal is filed. This is because additional work is required by the attorney or law firm. If you do not understand a contingent fee agreement you must have all of your questions answered before you sign.
Why should a client consider using a contingent fee arrangement? Many clients lack the financial resources to hire and pay a personal injury attorney a fee in advance on an hourly or flat fee basis.
The same is true of the expenses involved in a personal injury case. Many personal injury attorneys cover their client’s out of pocket expenses and want until the case is resolved to be paid.
An injured individual will not understand the jargon used in the personal injury setting and will be at a real disadvantage if they should need to go to court. Individuals are also unable to effectively evaluate a settlement offer or the risks of going to trial.
Are the costs involved in hiring an attorney worth it? As a general rule the more serious your injuries the more reason to have an attorney on your side. Insurance companies always have an attorney in their corner and if you are seriously injured you should give serious consideration to hiring a qualified personal injury attorney.