Understanding Contingent Fee Arrangements in Your Personal Injury Case
Almost all Baton Rouge personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingent fee. A contingent fee is simply any fee charged by a lawyer for services that is only due if you get a settlement or damage award in the case. This means that you don’t have to pay your lawyer until your case is resolved and the money is received. Once the money arrives to your lawyer’s office, a portion is taken out to pay the attorney’s legal fees and costs. This means less risk to you, because you don’t have to pay if you don’t win. If you lose your case, you won’t owe any legal fees.
You will sign fee agreement with your personal injury lawyer which will detail how your attorney will be paid and the exact amounts (by percentage) you'll both receive when your case is over. This is a legal contract that you should review and understand before you sign.
The contingent fee is typically set up as a percentage of recovery, and is typically one third, or 33.3 percent, of your settlement or damage awardYou may think this means your attorney will get one-third of the final settlement, and you will get the other two-thirds. But it's not quite that simple, as there are other fees and costs that could lower your payout amount.
- Costs are the expenses your attorney pays while preparing and working on your case. The amounts normally include office and copying costs, deposition expenses, expert testimony, etc. They are deducted from the total settlement after a case is won. The costs are deducted first, before the one-third fee is calculated.
- Your attorney is legally obligated to deduct and pay all medical bills before you receive any settlement money. These include medical bills from hospitals and doctors who provided treatment to you, and any other providers who deferred payment for your treatment until the case was finalized.
So for example, if you have an award of $100,000, and $13,500 of costs and medical bills, the remaining amount is $86,500. It is from this amount that we deduct 1/3 for attorney’s fees, leaving you with a net settlement of $57,666.67.
Here at Finch Davis, a consultation with any of our experienced personal injury attorneys is always free of charge. And we offer contingent fee arrangements that allow you to get expert legal respresentation for your injury without risk. Call us or use the link below to submit your case for a free evaluation.