After a serious accident, you may think, “How can I get things back to normal?” Considering that many injured parties suffer permanent injuries and loss of income while accumulating substantial medical bills as the result of an accident, returning to normal may seem like an impossibility. Often, the most expedient route to anything resembling normalcy is to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for your injuries.
A successful personal injury lawsuit can earn the plaintiff considerable compensation, not to mention the satisfaction of holding the wrongdoers accountable.
Even a successful lawsuit isn’t always all and rainbows for the plaintiff. For many people, just the word “lawsuit” invokes frightful thoughts of massive attorney’s fees. According to thervo.com, attorneys charge an average of $100 to $300 per hour. This kind of cost is well beyond the means of most working people.
However, victims should know that an attorney doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, most personal injury attorneys will take a case at no out-of-pocket cost to the plaintiff.
What Is a Contingency Fee?
Personal injury lawyers understand that not every client can afford to pay legal fees, especially following a debilitating accident. For this reason, many lawyers will accept cases on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee arrangement spares the client out-of-pocket costs while still allowing the lawyer to collect payment if the lawsuit is successful.
Although this may sound like legal jargon, contingency fees work in a fairly straightforward manner. The lawyer handles the case for free from the moment the client walks through the door all the way through trial, if a trial is necessary. The lawyer is only paid if the lawsuit is successful and the plaintiff is awarded money through a settlement or by the court. The lawyer takes a percentage of the money the plaintiff is awarded as a fee. The lawyer and the client generally agree upon this percentage before the lawyer taking the case.
Pros of a Contingency Fee
As already mentioned, the lack of up-front is one pro. Hiring a lawyer on a contingency fee can drastically reduce the out-of-pocket cost of legal representation.
Additionally, working on contingency provides incentives to the lawyer to pursue the highest award or settlement possible for the client.
Finally, contingency fees make the cost more predictable because the lawyer’s fee is guaranteed to be a fixed percentage of the client’s award. In a traditional fee arrangement if a lawsuit runs longer than expected the client can expect a corresponding rise in the attorney’s bill.
Thus, a contingency fee can potentially earn the client more money in a shorter amount of time than a traditional fee arrangement.
Cons of Contingency Fees
Contingency fees are strictly limited to civil lawsuits. According to the American Bar Association’s rules of professional responsibility, rule 1.5, a lawyer may not accept a criminal case on contingency.
Free Initial Consultation
The first step in pursuing a personal injury lawsuit is scheduling an initial consultation. Initial consultations allow the client to present the lawyer with the basic facts of their case and their objectives for filing the case. Based on this information the lawyer can present the client with options and estimate the value of the case.
The initial consultation is the moment the attorney-client relationship begins. Clients shouldn’t hesitate to schedule an initial consultation as soon as possible even if they don’t intend to file a lawsuit. You should prepare for legal action in case you decide to file later on. Legal consultations are often free, so there’s no risk in calling a lawyer.
The law creates rights for accident victims. A person who was wrongfully injured by a third party can bring a lawsuit to obtain compensation for the financial and personal costs they suffered as a result of their injuries. A successful personal injury lawsuit can help you pursue financial stability and peace of mind for the victim and their family in an otherwise uncertain time.
Free initial consultations and contingent attorney’s fees make it possible for the non-wealthy to access the legal system and obtain justice. A free initial consultation is the first step in obtaining compensation for you and your loved ones. During the consultation, an experienced personal injury attorney can inform you of your rights, approximate the value of your case, and outline your options.
If the lawyer decides to accept the case on a contingency fee, the plaintiff will not owe out-of-pocket attorney’s fees from the time initial consultation until the moment of settlement or judicial verdict. The lawyer collects their fee as a percentage of the amount awarded to the client. Although a contingency fee may result in a smaller reward for the plaintiff, it often makes hiring a lawyer feasible in the first place.
The law can be vague and, in some cases, downright ambiguous. Personal injury lawsuits are often complex and may require extensive investigation and discovery. For these reasons, meet with an attorney right away if you believe you were wrongfully injured. The fact that many jurisdictions impose a two-year statute of limitations on personal claims only increases the urgency. If you don’t promptly file your claim, you may forfeit your right to compensation. Contact The Law Offices of George Salinas today for a free consultation.