To pursue compensation after suffering a personal injury, it’s crucial to understand your options. If you’re in San Antonio and are in such a predicament, seeking guidance from a local personal injury law firm should be your first step. They can provide valuable insight into how to proceed with a claim, whether it’s through legal action or an insurance company.
The hurdle, though, might be the financial strain you’re under, especially if the injury has left you unable to work. The thought of affording a lawyer to support you in filing a personal injury claim might seem daunting. But there are options available that won’t add to your financial burden.
How Does a Contingency Fee Work?
A contingency fee agreement is pretty straightforward in how it functions. In such an arrangement, your lawyer’s payment depends on the success of your case. The lawyer only gets paid if you do.
This payment is typically a portion of the total amount you win. For example, it’s common for a personal injury lawyer in San Antonio to ask for about one-third, or 33.33%, of whatever compensation you receive. If you were to settle a claim for $90,000, the lawyer’s share would be $30,000.
What Is Included in a Contingency Fee?
When you reach a settlement or are awarded a verdict, the compensation might cover various aspects like:
- Medical expenses
- Emotional trauma
- Lost income
- Physical pain
- Ongoing disabilities
- Loss of enjoyment in daily activities
- Loss of overall quality of life
- Economic and non-economic losses
Like in the rest of Texas, the lawyer’s contingency fee is taken from the total awarded amount in San Antonio. This means the fee is calculated and subtracted from the settlement or verdict amount before you receive your portion.
Contingency fees are strictly regulated in Texas. You and the attorney must agree upon the fee percentage right from the start, and this agreement should be detailed clearly in the written contract you sign with them.
Are Case Expenses Included in a Contingency Fee?
When dealing with a personal injury case in San Antonio, it’s important to consider the costs that can pile up as your attorney works on your claim.
Case expenses can be pretty varied, including:
- Court filing fees
- Charges for depositions and court reporters
- Travel costs
- Charges for making copies and sending mail
- Investigation expenses
- Costs for delivering legal documents (service of process)
- Fees for expert witnesses
- Charges for getting medical records, police reports, and other necessary documents
A San Antonio personal injury lawyer might front these costs for you and then deduct them from your settlement in addition to their contingency fee. Alternatively, some attorneys might ask you to pay these expenses as they come up during the case.
Usually, these case expenses are separate from the lawyer’s fees. Following the earlier example, if your attorney incurred $200 in expenses, the total deducted from the settlement would be $20,200. This is $20,000 for the attorney’s fee plus $200 for the expenses.
In Texas, the contract you sign with your lawyer must clearly outline which expenses will be paid back to the attorney. Typical costs in a personal injury lawsuit can range from postage to obtaining official documents like medical records. However, if your case goes to trial, expenses can increase significantly due to added litigation costs such as filing fees, deposition costs, mediation, and payments for expert testimony.
Contingency Fees vs. Hourly Fees
When choosing how to pay for legal help, you have two main choices: contingency fees or hourly fees.
With contingency fees, you only pay your lawyer if you win your case. This can be great because you don’t need any money at the start, and your lawyer is motivated to win since that’s how they get paid.
On the other hand, hourly fees mean you pay your lawyer for every hour they work on your case, win or lose. This can add up quickly, and some worry that it doesn’t encourage lawyers to work as efficiently.
Contingency fees can make legal help more affordable and give your lawyer a good reason to try their best to win. Hourly fees might be more predictable, but they can be expensive and don’t guarantee that your lawyer is focused on winning your case as quickly as possible.
If your case wins or settles, the process for getting paid is pretty simple. The money you win goes into a special account your lawyer has. This keeps everything safe and separate.
Your lawyer then takes out their share for their work and any other costs you both agreed on. These costs could be court fees or money spent to help your case. After that, your lawyer will give you the rest of the money.
Your attorney should also give you a detailed list of any costs from your winnings so you know exactly where your money went.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a San Antonio Personal Injury Lawyer
A contingency fee agreement can be helpful, especially if you can’t afford to pay a lawyer upfront. Even though your lawyer takes a part of what you win, it’s better to have some help in this process. A good lawyer might make your case worth more, so you could come out with more money in the end. To fully understand how a contingency fee agreement can benefit your specific situation, it’s best to consult with an experienced San Antonio personal injury attorney.