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How Do Personal Injury Attorneys Get Paid?

When it comes to paying your attorney, personal injury cases are structured a little differently than you might think. Personal injury attorneys base their pay on a contingency fee, which means their fees are conditional on winning the case. They usually do not charge anything upfront or require you to pay any kind of retainer. If they do not win your case or fail to recover money for you, then you usually do not pay them. 

What Percentage do Attorneys take from the Settlement?

Personal Injury Attorneys charge a percentage of what they actually recover from the at-fault parties and the insurance policies that they go after. Typically, it is a 3rd or 33.3 percent of what they recover in the end. This percentage may differ depending on how complicated the case gets. For example, if an attorney has to file a lawsuit, it can go from 33 percent to 35 percent. If they have to proceed through a jury trial, which is quite rare, the percentage can go up to 40 percent. The contingency fee increases because the workload increases as the case changes. As a case moves through the trial process, varying complexities and additional types of work need to be done to develop the case. Most clients want to avoid the courtroom. There are cases where insurance companies are offering such a low amount of money that you have to file lawsuits to get them to play fair. That is part of the game. They routinely offer low money, and they count on the vast majority of people to just accept it and move on. Filing a lawsuit forces the insurance companies to come to the table with reasonable offers. Sometimes you have to go through a jury trial, but this is rare with systems like arbitrations and mediations that help settle claims without the need of a jury. Less than 1% of all civil cases filed in Maricopa County ever reach a jury. 

Will an Attorney Help Me Get More Money out of My Case?

Is a Personal Injury Attorney worth the cost? On average, the client will get more out of the insurance companies if they hire an attorney, even when factoring in the attorney’s contingency fee. When you have a personal injury case you have to do it right. You will be dealing with an insurance company that has handled thousands and thousands of cases like yours. You will have to take the steps to fight them to get what you deserve, especially if your injury is permanent. An insurance company is always going to offer as little as they can, and they will give every reason why their payment is fair. Most people just accept what they give without question, and unknowingly accept an amount that does not come close to fairly compensating them for their damages and injuries. For example, insurance companies will routinely call a week after an accident and offer 500 to 1,500 dollars to someone before the case is even developed or the medical injuries are vetted out. When dealing with insurance companies with so much experience, hiring an attorney provides you with the experts to get them to pay fairly. A personal injury attorney will take cases that they believe in, which means the client risks very little.

Are there any Hidden Costs with Personal Injury Attorneys?

There will be costs that are associated with your case, such as requesting medical records from medical providers, hiring investigators that need to take witness statements, the cost to file a lawsuit and to have the lawsuit served on the responsible party. Sometimes it’s necessary to hire expert witnesses like an expert medical doctor, an accident reconstructionist, or experts that calculate economic losses, wage losses, or losses of future earnings. All of these little details are what build a strong case. Under the Arizona Ethical rules, clients are responsible for the costs of the case, which are separate from the contingency fees. Most attorneys will front these for you, which means there is no expense to you until the case is settled. During the case, the attorney will consult with the client on the costs incurred. Although most of these costs are well worth it, there are ways to keep the costs down. Good attorneys will only hire experts when warranted. Sometimes they rely on the treating physician as opposed to hiring an expert in giving opinions.