If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, it’s in your best interest to seek legal representation from a Tampa personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Many people hesitate to seek legal representation after an accident because they assume that they won’t be able to afford to hire an attorney. But fortunately, this is not something you need to worry about. To understand why, it’s important to learn about contingency fee arrangements.
How Does A Contingency Fee Work?
Some lawyers will charge their clients a flat fee or hourly rate for their legal services. But personal injury attorneys work on what is known as a contingency fee basis. This means your attorney will not charge you upfront for their legal services. You also won’t get a monthly bill in the mail. Instead, your attorney will not charge for their legal services until and unless they are able to recover compensation for your injuries.
If your attorney successfully recovers compensation for you—either through a settlement or trial verdict—they will take a percentage of the compensation to cover the cost of their services. But if they are not able to recover compensation for you, they will not charge you for their legal services. That’s why it is called a contingency fee—their ability to charge for their legal services will depend on whether or not they are able to win compensation for you.
What Are the Benefits of A Contingency Fee Arrangement?
The contingency fee arrangement offers a number of benefits, including:
- This arrangement makes legal representation affordable for all victims regardless of their financial status.
- No money will have to come out of your pockets—your attorney will be paid directly from the compensation you are awarded.
- Your attorney will be motivated to aggressively pursue compensation for your injuries. The more compensation they recover, the bigger their payout. Furthermore, if they cannot recover compensation for you, they won’t be paid for their legal services. This means your attorney will always work tirelessly to reach the best possible outcome in your case.
- You won’t have to deal with the stress of paying legal bills while you are recovering from your injuries.
These are some of the many benefits offered by a contingency fee arrangement.
What Percentage of Compensation Will Your Personal Injury Attorney Take?
Most personal injury attorneys will take between 33% to 40% of the compensation that is awarded to you for your injuries. But it may be possible to negotiate with your attorney to reduce the percentage they take for their legal services.
The percentage that your attorney takes may depend on how your case is resolved. For example, many personal injury attorneys will take 33% of your compensation if the case is resolved through a settlement. But if the case goes to trial, these attorneys will take 40% instead. This is because preparing for and presenting a case at trial requires a lot of work, so most attorneys will take a higher percentage of compensation to account for the time they’ve invested in the case.
Are There Other Fees Involved With Hiring A Personal Injury Attorney?
Your attorney may incur a number of expenses when representing you. Some of the many expenses that may arise during a personal injury case include:
- Expert witness fees
- Police reports
- Filing fees
- Medical record fees
- Miscellaneous court fees
Most personal injury attorneys will cover these expenses as they are incurred and then deduct them from the compensation you are awarded for your injuries.
For example, say you are awarded $100,000 for your injuries. Your attorney charges a 33% contingency fee and has incurred $10,000 in expenses while representing you. The $10,000 in expenses will be deducted from the $100,000 you were awarded, which will leave you with $90,000. Your attorney is entitled to 33% of this amount, or $29,700. This will leave you with $60,300.
But of course, sometimes a personal injury attorney will not be able to recover compensation for their client. The way that an attorney handles these expenses when they cannot recover compensation will vary depending on the law firm. Make sure you understand whether or not you will be responsible for paying any expenses if your attorney cannot recover compensation for your injuries.
Discuss Legal Fees With Your Personal Injury Attorney
The vast majority of personal injury attorneys offer new clients the opportunity to schedule a free consultation. If you schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney, make sure you ask them about their legal fees during this meeting. It’s important to understand exactly how they will charge for their legal services prior to hiring them. This way, you will know what to expect so there are no surprises.
Some of the questions you should ask your attorney about their legal fees include:
- Do you work on a contingency fee basis?
- What percentage of my compensation will you take? Will the percentage you take vary depending on how the case is resolved?
- Are you willing to negotiate the contingency fee percentage?
- How are legal fees handled? Will you cover these expenses as they arise? Will I have to pay these expenses if you cannot recover compensation for my injuries?
Your contingency fee agreement with your attorney should contain the answers to these questions. Make sure everything is in writing so both you and your attorney are on the same page when it comes to the cost of their legal services and fees.
Seek Legal Representation As Soon As Possible
If you have been injured due to another party’s negligence, seek legal representation from a personal injury lawyer in Tampa right away. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you cannot afford to hire a lawyer—every victim can afford legal representation from a personal injury attorney who works on a contingency fee basis.
Contact the skilled personal injury attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett now to discuss your case. To schedule a free consultation, call 813-223-2030 now.