Let’s face it. No one plans to have an accident. We don’t expect them, or put money aside to use just in case one happens. That’s why they’re called “accidents,” right? But the truth is that when an accident happens, it’s costly. Suddenly you are faced with unexpected medical bills or property repair bills or both. In some cases, it can even lead to bankruptcy.
So what happens if you are injured because of the negligence of another but you can’t afford to pay an attorney?
What can you do?
Consider a contingency fee agreement.
How Attorneys Generally Charge Clients.
Before you can understand how contingency fee agreements work, you must first understand how attorneys get paid.
The price an attorney charges for his/her work is referred to as an attorney’s “fee.”
One of the most common ways for attorneys to get paid is by charging an hourly fee for the work they do. Depending on the location, experience of the attorney, and the complexity of the case, typical hourly rates can range anywhere from $200-300 an hour, to well over $1,000 an hour.
In addition to the attorney’s hourly rate, there are also expenses associated with litigation that a client must pay. Referred to as “costs,” these are generally things like filing fees (i.e., court fees), expert witness fees, copying costs, mailing costs, research costs, etc.
Exactly what you are responsible for paying, (how much in fees and costs) is spelled out in the individual Attorney-Client Contract that you negotiate with your attorney. Generally speaking, however, most clients are required to pay all legal fees (costs and fees) up-front. In other words, the attorney’s fees and the costs associated with the case must be paid before a settlement is reached.
As you might expect, this means that legal representation gets expensive pretty quickly.
While the normal hourly rate works well for most cases, like real estate or breach of contract cases, in some situations, (like personal injury actions), the people who need legal representation cannot pay for it up-front.
Enter the contingency fee agreement.
What is a Contingency Fee Agreement?
To make the legal process accessible to those who need it most, many personal injury attorneys offer a contingency fee arrangement.
What this means is that the attorney will pay all costs up-front, and his/her fee for the work s/he does on the case will be “contingent” upon the success of the case.
In most cases this means that the attorney will accept about one third of any recovery as his or her fixed percentage. If you win, the money you owe your attorney (his or her attorney’s fee) will come out of the recovery amount. If you lose, you don’t get any money. But neither does your attorney. Essentially, attorneys who work on a contingency fee basis are taking the risk of not getting paid for their work if the case does not settle or there is no award in his/her client’s favor.
(Note: The percentage an attorney charges in any contingency fee case depends entirely on the case and the attorney. The above information is a generalization only.)
Contingency fees don’t work for all cases, but for many personal injury cases, they do. Contingency fees enable injured victims to get the legal representation they need.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Cumming, Georgia.
The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C., are here to help you. We serve clients in Atlanta, and in several counties throughout Georgia, including: Clayton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County, Douglas County, Fulton County, and Paulding County, among others. To find out how we can help you, call us at: 770-888-7707. Or contact us here.