When you need a personal injury lawyer, on the top of your mind is probably how much it will cost. The reality is that legal representation is not always cheap, but that does not mean you cannot afford it when you need it the most. Here, we want to discuss how much personal injury lawyers charge in the context of a contingency fee agreement. Contingency fees are the best way to ensure that every individual, regardless of their income level, is able to secure justice in the form of compensation from at-fault parties.
What is a Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee is one in which you will pay legal fees, but not until the attorney successfully recovers the compensation you are entitled to. The legal fees are contingent on the win.
Before a case even begins, you and your attorney will decide how much of a percentage they will collect out of the final insurance settlement or jury verdict amount. Contingency fees can range anywhere from around 25% to 35% of the total award. An attorney will not begin working on your case until this contingency fee is agreed on.
However, once the attorney begins working, you, as the injury victim, will not have to worry about paying any out-of-pocket or upfront costs related to your case. You will not have to pay court filing fees, paralegals to handle case preparation, investigation costs, expert witnesses, etc. The attorney will take on the burden of paying for everything related to your claim because they believe they will be successful and recover compensation at the end.
The good part about a contingency fee, at least for the personal injury victim, is that they will not have to pay any legal fees if the attorney does not win the case. They will lose nothing as far as legal fees are concerned.
An Example of Your Overall Costs
Let us examine how the contingency fee may work for your particular case by creating a theoretical scenario with easy numbers. Let us suppose that a person sustains a spinal cord injury in an accident caused by a commercial truck driver. Let us also suppose that the attorney decides to take the case on a contingency fee basis, with the agreement that they will cover 30% of the total settlement amount.
Spinal cord injuries can be incredibly expensive, with first-year medical costs rising to as much as $1 million. Couple this with each subsequent year of care as well as lost wages a person is likely to endure, and a spinal cord injury claim can reach an incredible amount of money. For this scenario, let us suppose that the attorney successfully recovers a $3 million settlement on behalf of their client. Based on the contingency fee the attorney and the client agreed on, the attorney would receive $900,000 in legal fees out of the final award amount.
It is important to understand that individuals are much more likely to recover higher amounts of compensation if they work with a skilled attorney than if they tried to handle the claim on their own. Most personal injury claims in Georgia are incredibly complicated, and having an attorney handle the case brings a higher likelihood of overall success.