A contingency fee agreement allows you to hire a personal injury lawyer without paying any attorneys’ fees upfront. In other words, you can hire an accident attorney to handle your personal injury case without worrying about how to pay the lawyer’s fees. The attorney works on a contingent fee basis.
What is a Contingency Fee for Personal Injury Cases?
A contingent fee arrangement means that the law firm does not receive any attorneys’ fees unless it recovers money for your personal injury claim. The contingency basis for legal services means the attorney is not paid for services until and unless you receive compensation for your injuries and damages. Of course, the firm must win the case to get paid.
A contingency fee basis allows an injured party to receive skilled legal representation without worrying about how to pay for an attorney. Many people experience financial hardships after an accident or injury. They may be out of work for long periods as they recover from injuries.
Being out of work and struggling to pay living expenses and medical bills can make it impossible to pay a larger retainer fee to hire a personal injury attorney. However, when attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, the injured party does not need to worry about how to pay an attorney.
How Do Contingency Fees Work in Georgia Personal Injury Cases?
When injury lawyers accept cases on a contingency fee basis, they agree to accept a percentage of the settlement or jury verdict as payment for their legal services. The Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct and Rule 1.5 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct allow attorneys to accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.
The attorney and the client agree to a specific percentage for the attorneys’ fees before signing the retainer agreement. The retainer agreement and the contingency fee agreement must be in writing. The contingency fee is based upon the total amount the attorney recovers for economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
When the attorney recovers money for the client, the attorney deducts the agreed-upon percentage for attorneys’ fees from the settlement proceeds. However, if the attorney loses the case, the attorney does not receive any money for legal services.
How Much Do Attorneys Charge for Contingency Fees?
The percentage used for contingency fees in a personal injury case depends on several factors. The fee charged must be reasonable.
However, attorneys may charge higher fees if they take a case to trial. Therefore, a contingency fee agreement may include a percentage if the case settles before filing a lawsuit and a different percentage if the case goes to trial.
Attorneys base contingency fees on several factors. Factors that impact the amount of a contingency fee include:
- The type of case, such as a medical malpractice or product liability claim versus a car accident or slip and fall claim
- The complexity of the case and the parties involved in the case
- The attorney’s skills, experience, and education
- Whether the lawyer holds specialized certifications
- The geographic location of your case and the attorney’s office
- The lawyer’s success record for settlements and trial verdicts
- The attorney’s reputation within the legal community
Reasonable contingency fee agreements may range from 30 to 40 percent, depending on the type of case and the stage when the case is resolved.
An important distinction to keep in mind is that contingency fees do not include the costs of the cases. Attorneys generally bill the client separately for the costs involved in pursuing a personal injury claim.
Who is Responsible for Paying the Costs of a Personal Injury Case?
Law firms incur costs as they pursue personal injury claims. Typical costs associated with personal injury cases include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Investigations costs
- Fees for obtaining medical records, accident reports, police reports, and other records
- Court filing fees
- Expert witness fees
- Travel expenses
- Court reporter fees and deposition costs
- Transcript fees
- Costs of preparing for trial
The attorney may pay the costs as they incur them during the case. The attorney deducts the costs from the settlement proceeds after deducting the contingency fees when the case settles. Other law firms may bill clients for the costs as they incur them.
The costs of a case can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars for a complicated personal injury claim. Therefore, it is crucial that you understand who is responsible for paying these costs, whether or not the claim is successful.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation With an Augusta Personal Injury Lawyer
Our law firm accepts most personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. We believe injured persons deserve access to experienced, skilled legal representation as they seek fair compensation for their injuries and damages. Let our legal team help you get the money you deserve after an accident or injury.
Call our law firm to schedule your free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.