If you suffer from a personal injury in California, you may wonder what your legal options are, especially if you do not have the funds to pay expensive legal fees. In fact, many people refrain from pursuing legal action because they believe they cannot possibly afford an attorney out of pocket. However, many law firms offer agreements to help make attorneys more accessible and affordable for California residents. These agreements are contingency fee arrangements.
A contingency fee is a fee arrangement that many law firms adapt to help lower your out-of-pocket costs when filing a personal injury lawsuit. Simply put, if the accident attorney you hire does not secure a settlement on your behalf, you do not have to pay him or her any legal fees. If your attorney does secure a settlement on your behalf, he or she will deduct an agreed-upon percentage from the final settlement amount as payment.
Your attorney will inform you of the percentage he or she intends to collect before you decide to hire him or her. Your attorney should also let you know if he or she intends to deduct any additional costs and expenses related to your case as well, such as filing fees or report request costs. This arrangement provides you with a very low-risk path to receiving the legal services you need to recover compensation.
The contingency fee you will pay depends on which law firm you decide to hire. Most personal injury attorneys charge a contingency fee of 33.3% if your case does not go to trial and 40% if the lawsuit does enter the courtroom. The majority of personal injury lawsuits actually settle out of court via negotiations. Your attorney may not make a distinction between these two types of settlements, charging a flat contingency rate for either outcome.
For example, say that you suffer injuries in a car accident and you sign the standard contingency fee agreement with your attorney: 33.3% if your case settles out of the courtroom and 40% if your case goes to trial. If you settle outside of the courtroom and receive compensation totaling $50,000, your attorney will receive $16,650 for legal fees and you will receive $33,350. If your case does go to trial and you receive a $50,000 settlement, your attorney will receive $20,000 for legal fees and you will receive $30,000.
While contingency fees may seem quite high, they actually come at a little risk to you and provide a way to receive top quality legal services without paying expensive fees out-of-pocket. Contingency fee agreements can provide numerous benefits to people who are trying to file a personal injury lawsuit, namely in terms of accessibility and incentive.
If you are seeking an attorney to represent you in your personal injury claim or lawsuit, consider hiring an attorney who offers a contingency fee agreement. While you will have to pay funds out of your settlement to this attorney, legal services are not free in the first place – and contingency fees help you obtain these services without risking your personal finances.