If you have considered filing your personal injury claim on your own, we’d like to advise against it. Hiring a personal injury lawyer is the best choice you can make because you need to consider the long-term and the overall compensation package.
Personal injury lawyers are great because they have the experience and skill set to create an evidence-packed claim that offers compelling testimony of your losses. In the end, you’ll receive a greater compensation package – offsetting whatever fees or costs you may have paid.
But, that leads to another question: how much will it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer?
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at something known as a contingency fee – a form of payment that personal injury lawyers receive in lieu of traditional per-hour services.
What is a Contingency Fee?
Some jobs are paid hourly, while others are paid through a pre-determined yearly salary. Contingency fees are neither, and are quite specific to personal injury or workers’ compensation lawyers. For personal injury lawyers, a contingency fee is a sum of money that is only paid if you end up winning your case.
How is this sum of money determined? There are two variations of the contingency fee model that you should be aware of. The more common is known as a contingency fee arrangement and the other is known as a contingency hourly arrangement.
- A contingency fee arrangement means that you’ll provide a percentage of your compensation package – if you win – to your personal injury lawyer. If a claimant wins approximately $90,000 and the contingency fee percentage is set at 33% – you’ll receive $60,000 while your personal injury lawyer receives $30,000.
- A contingency hourly arrangement means paying an hourly amount to your personal injury lawyer if they win your case. If you win your case, your personal injury lawyer charges $200 per hour and they work for 10 hours, you’ll be paying them $2,000 in total.
In both contingency fee arrangements and contingency hourly arrangements, you won’t need to pay at all in the case you lose. After entering either of these agreements, costs such as court filing fees, paying for copies of medical records, expert witness depositions, and more are usually covered.
In the case of a win, your personal injury lawyer will receive a check from the defendant or their insurer. Before sending the check to you, your personal injury lawyer will deduct whatever fees they are owed for their services. It is important to receive a note describing how much they withheld. from the check and why.
How Much is A Contingency Fee?
The size of your personal injury lawyer’s contingency fee is influenced by whether you settle the case before or after filing a lawsuit. Pursuing a formal lawsuit in court will require more work from your personal injury lawyer, and thus, a larger piece of the pie. Here’s how contingency fees are usually broken down:
- Settling before a lawsuit – The personal injury lawyer will usually get a third of the settlement amount. Most personal injury claims will resolve before litigation, meaning that this 33% percentage is what most plaintiffs will end up paying.
- Settling after a lawsuit – Once a lawsuit enters the equation, the contingency fee will go up to 40%. Note that the percentage might be slightly higher or lower and that it depends on the personal injury lawyer that you’re working with.
If you find yourself working with a personal injury lawyer in San Antonio that utilizes a contingency hourly arrangement, it’s helpful to know that most lawyers will charge between $100 to $400 an hour. Most personal injury cases will require 8 to 12 hours of work.
How are Contingency Fees and Rates Documented?
Per the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, rule 1.5. states that contingent fee agreements must be in writing and signed by the client. As a client, it is important that you take the time to read through contingency agreements carefully. This written agreement will cover the percentage or hourly rates that you are expected to pay, along with other obligations if applicable.
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Contingency models are great because they are risk-free for personal injury victims. We’d also like to do our part and connect you with personal injury lawyers in San Antonio that can meet your legal needs.
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