How Are Personal Injury Lawyers Paid?
You have probably seen a billboard or a TV commercial where a personal injury lawyer says “we don’t get paid unless we win!” But there’s nothing special about that personal injury law firm. In fact, that statement is true for just about every personal injury attorney in America. So how are personal injury lawyers paid? It’s called the contingency fee basis.
The contingency fee basis is when a lawyer charges a percentage of the gross settlement or verdict amount. If there is no settlement and no verdict in favor of the lawyer’s client, then the lawyer is not paid. The personal injury lawyer only makes money if he or she makes money for the client.
But what’s the percentage? Well, it depends on the law firm and the type of personal injury case.
In workers’ compensation cases, Alabama injury lawyers can not charge more than a 15% contingency fee. In medical malpractice cases, many firms charge as high as 50% since those cases are difficult to win. Other types of injury cases usually fall in between this 15-50% range. For example, in car accident cases, most firms charge anywhere from 33.3% to 40%.
In addition, personal injury lawyers also get to recoup the costs they paid to handle the case. This doesn’t mean you have to pay for their lunch while they “think” about your case. The typical costs that attorneys recoup is the cost of obtaining medical records, court costs, deposition costs, and expert witness expenses. Most attorneys only incur these costs if they are necessary to reach a favorable outcome for their client.
Personal injury lawyers take the risk of not getting paid if they don’t win. For this reason, most prudent personal injury lawyers only accept cases that they feel confident they can win. After all, if they don’t win, they don’t get paid and lose the money they invested in litigating the case.
There’s no downside to talking with a personal injury lawyer about your case. You won’t have to pay anything if they don’t accept your case. You won’t have to pay anything if they do take your case but lose. So don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer if you have been injured.