If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may already know that you might be able to file a personal injury claim against the person or entity responsible for your injuries. You may also be familiar with the concept of personal injury lawyers and law firms who represent injured accident victims. But you may not know how these attorneys get paid by their clients.
At Recovery Law Center, we know you may be struggling with high medical expenses and lost wages following your accident. As a result, you might be wondering if you can afford to hire a qualified injury lawyer to represent you. Fortunately, the way we represent clients means that anyone can afford to hire us, no matter what your situation is. Read more to find out how. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our fee arrangement.
Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Hiring a personal injury lawyer after you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault can provide several important benefits. First, an experienced attorney can help you determine whether you may have a viable personal injury case. An injury lawyer will also know how to investigate your claim and what evidence needs to be recovered to prove your right to compensation.
A personal injury lawyer also has the experience to value your claim, including estimating your future expenses and losses that you should be compensated for. Finally, a personal injury lawyer can handle the hard work of aggressively negotiating with insurance companies and defense lawyers to try to obtain a settlement, or pursuing your case in court, so that you can focus your time and energy on your physical recovery.
I Cannot Afford to Hire a Lawyer – Now What?
Some people choose to pursue their personal injury claim on their own, or forego pursuing their claim altogether, simply because they believe they cannot afford to pay an attorney to handle their case. However, most people can afford to hire a personal injury lawyer for their claim.
Most personal injury lawyers and law firms offer free initial consultations. This allows people to speak to an attorney at no cost to get advice as to whether they may have a viable personal injury claim. A potential client can also evaluate the attorney and law firm to determine if they seem like someone the client will want to work with on their case.
Additionally, most personal injury lawyers get paid on a contingency fee basis, which is described below.
How Are Personal Injury Lawyers Paid?
You may think you can’t hire a personal injury attorney because you can’t afford to pay a retainer or hourly fees. Fortunately, in most personal injury claims, you will not need to pay money upfront to hire a lawyer. Most plaintiffs’ personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis.
What Is a Contingency Fee?
So, what is a contingency fee? In a contingency fee arrangement, the attorney or law firm does not get paid a legal fee unless and until they obtain financial recovery for the client. Payment for their services is contingent upon them recovering financial compensation for you. If they don’t obtain compensation on your behalf, you generally won’t owe them for the time they have invested in your case.
In most contingency-fee arrangements, the lawyer or law firm is paid a percentage of the total recovery the lawyer or law firm obtains for the client. Most attorneys working on contingency also advance the costs of the case, such as hiring expert witnesses and paying court fees.
In some contingency fee arrangements, those costs are folded into the attorney’s legal fee that they are paid if they recover compensation for the client. In other contingency fee arrangements, the attorney has reimbursed the expenses of the case they have paid for from the client’s total recovery in addition to being paid their percentage legal fee. And in some arrangements, the client may be expected to reimburse the attorney for the expenses of the case even if the attorney does not ultimately obtain compensation for the client.
Variations on the standard contingency fee arrangement include:
- Sliding scale contingency: The percentage that the attorney collects for their fee increases as the case progresses from settlement negotiations to the filing of a lawsuit to trial. The percentage may start out as low as 25 percent if the case is settled before a lawsuit is filed. However, the percentage may rise up as high as 40 percent if the case eventually proceeds to trial, since litigation and trial require more time and effort from the attorney.
- Mixed hourly/contingency: The attorney is paid a lower hourly rate for their work, regardless of the outcome of the case. However, the attorney may be paid a bonus on top of their hourly rate or a small percentage of the total recovery if the lawyer or firm does recover compensation for the client.
- Contingency hourly: The attorney or firm charges an hourly rate, but the client does not pay the lawyer’s fees unless and until the lawyer obtains compensation for the client. This arrangement is typically only used in cases where a plaintiff can seek an award of their attorney’s fees from the defendant, which rarely happens in personal injury cases.
Be sure that you have a clear understanding of your personal injury settlement breakdown, including what costs and fees your lawyer will be able to receive payment or reimbursement for since this breakdown can have a significant effect on how much money you ultimately recover. A lawyer can review their written fee agreement with you before you officially hire them to help with your case.
How Does a Contingency Fee Affect My Settlement?
A contingency fee arrangement motivates an attorney or law firm to fight to secure the largest settlement amount possible since the lawyer or firm will earn a percentage of the total recovery obtained by the client.
As a practical matter, the settlement check paid by the defendant or their insurer will be sent to your attorney. Your lawyer will then deduct a percentage of the check total representing their legal fee, along with expenses of the case, as agreed upon by you and the attorney in your contingency fee agreement.
Is It Worth Hiring an Injury Attorney Over Taking an Insurance Settlement?
An insurance company may offer you a settlement before you’ve had an opportunity to speak with a personal injury attorney in Hawaii, leaving you to wonder whether you even need to hire an injury lawyer. However, that first immediate settlement offer from the insurance company often represents far less than the full extent of compensation you may be entitled to for your injuries and losses and far less than the maximum amount of compensation the insurance company may be willing to pay.
Insurance companies are always looking to maximize their profits by getting you to accept as little compensation as possible. Injury plaintiffs who hire an attorney can get a more realistic idea about how much their claim is worth so that they don’t prematurely take a low settlement. A lawyer can recommend whether or not to accept a settlement.
How Can Recovery Law Center Help Me?
If you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence, Recovery Law Center can help you by:
- Offering a free consultation to discuss your claim with us so that we can help you determine whether you have a viable claim.
- Getting to work on your case at no upfront cost to you.
- Ensuring you get top-quality medical care and working with your healthcare providers throughout your case.
- Documenting your losses so that you can obtain complete financial recovery.
- Handling negotiations with insurance companies.
- Preparing your claim to be filed in court and advocating for you at trial, if necessary.
There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by scheduling a free consultation. Contact us today.