Despite massive advertising by lawyers of "No Fee if No Recovery," many people still don't realize that for most personal injury cases, you won't be paying an attorney fee upfront. Instead, you will pay a percentage of the record.
This is called the "contingent fee."
We are going to set the record straight and talk about what attorneys charge for a personal injury case.
What are Contingent Fees?
Most attorney fees are contingent, or dependent on the details of your case. Attorney fees are contingent because they change depending on the status of your injury claim. Some attorneys advertise “no fee if no recovery,” this means that if the attorney loses your case, you may not be charged for their time.
How Much Are the Contingent Fees?
A personal injury attorney’s fee is based on when the case is settled. The percentage typically goes up as your case moves through the different stages of the legal process. An attorney’s fee ranges from 33.3% to 40%.
Because this is a contingent fee, the actual fee will vary. It also means that if there is no recovery, there is no attorney fee.
Are There Other Fees or Expenses?
There are other expenses that you may incur over the life of your case. These are commonly called out of pocket deductions. Out-of-pocket expenses are expenses that the attorney will incur during the process of your case. This includes requests for medical records, paying expert witnesses, and travel costs. You may also have to repay your health insurance company. This is called subrogation.
Of course, if you have any unpaid medical bills they will be repaid out of your settlement.
How is the Final Fee Calculated?
Here are two questions to ask your attorney:
- Do your fees come out before or after deductions?
- If my suit fails, do you still charge out-of-pocket expenses?
In the U.S., most attorneys charge their fees before the deduction. This means their percentage comes from the total amount of the settlement. Each attorney has their fee structure that they should cover with you during your initial meeting.
If you have a car accident case in Virginia, you can download Ben Glass’s FREE book Five Deadly Sins That Can Wreck Your Injury Claim. You can also call BenGlassLaw to speak to one of our team members at (703)584-7277