If you were involved in a serious auto accident caused by someone else, you might be hesitant to pursue litigation because you worry about being able to afford an attorney. Money probably feels especially tight during this time because medical bills are starting to pile up, your car is totaled, and you are unable to work.
Thankfully, there is some good news. Most personal injury lawyers in California – our firm included – offer their services on what’s called a “contingency fee” basis. In this post, we’ll discuss what this means and why it works well for both you and your attorney.
Contingency means no recovery, no fee
When you hire our firm or other contingency-fee attorneys, you pay no money up front and pay no legal fees until or unless your lawyer helps you recover money (in a jury trial or settlement). The fees, disclosed in advance, are a percentage of however much your attorney helps you recover.
The average contingency agreement in California sets legal fees at between 33.33 and 40 percent of the total funds recovered. By making fees a percentage rather than a fixed rate, you can be sure that your attorney fees will never exceed the amount recovered.
Are there other costs to consider?
Typically, the answer is yes. Depending on the firm you hire, you may be asked to pay court costs and other fixed fees, regardless of whether you win or lose your case. However, you’ll never be surprised by these costs, because California law requires fee agreements to be put in writing for any case expected to total $1,000 or more (basically, any personal injury case).
When you contact our firm, we offer free initial consultations to help you learn whether we might be a good fit for you. And if you decide to hire us, we will walk you through the fee agreement and take the time to address all questions and concerns you may have.
Why contingency arrangements are great for personal injury cases
In some areas of law, contingency arrangements are not appropriate and/or not allowed. But they are very beneficial in personal injury cases. Here’s why:
You and your attorney have matching interests: Your attorney doesn’t get paid unless you do. Conversely, the more you get paid, the more they make by extension. You can trust that your attorney’s interests are in line with yours, and your attorney has a strong incentive to maximize your financial recovery.
Attorneys will not waste your time or money: A contingency-fee attorney will not take a case that has no chance of success for the reasons mentioned above. Therefore, you can be confident that your attorney believes your claim is actionable. Furthermore, they won’t waste time just to increase billable hours because they are not charging by the hour. It is in their interests (and yours) to resolve the case as efficiently as possible.
You can afford to take legal action: As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, the least affordable time to budget for an attorney is typically right after a serious accident (if you had to pay up front). Thankfully, you pay no fees until your case is successfully resolved, at which time your fees will be paid out of the money you recover.
Contact us to learn more in a free consultation
Our attorneys are proud to fight for the injured in Orange County and surrounding areas, and that starts by meeting potential clients and hearing their stories. To schedule your free consultation with us, please get in touch by calling one of our offices or by using our online contact form.