California Personal Injury Lawyer Fees
Injured in an accident? You might wonder if you’re eligible for compensation to cover your medical bills and other issues. You might also be unsure if hiring a personal injury attorney is worth the money. Unlike most other lawyers, personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means inability to pay is never an issue. You will never lose money by hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your case.
What Does “Contingency” Mean in Personal Injury Cases?
If a personal injury attorney decides to take your case, you will not owe any money up front. Instead, the attorney will collect a fee for his services once they settle or resolve your claim. The attorney’s fees are a percentage of the total amount you recover from your personal injury claim. If you do not recover any money, the attorney does not charge you anything.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will usually offer a free consultation to anyone injured in an accident. The attorney will review the facts and legal issues in your case, as well as the damages you have suffered. If he believes he can be an asset in your case, he will offer to represent you on a contingency basis.
What Is a Fair Contingency Fee in California?
Most contingency fees in California range from 33% to 50% of the total settlement. Most times the fees change based on various steps on a case. Usually, there is a lower fee if the case settles before you file a lawsuit or arbitration. The fees increase once the case is in litigation. It is not unusual to see fees go up once the first mediation passes, date of expert experation, or the start of the trial. You are your attorney will sign an agreement that defines the fee structure.
California law prohibits an attorney from charging “unconscionable” fees for legal representation. This means the legal fees must not be unreasonable or outrageous. However, there is no standard maximum (or minimum) fee permitted.
A personal injury attorney will usually cover the costs of litigation until final judgment or settlement. These costs are separate from the attorney’s fees. In most circumstances, the attorney’s fees are taken out first from the settlement then cost. For example, if you receive a $150,000 settlement, the attorney will collect his fee (let’s say one-third, or $50,000), plus the cost of litigation expenses (which can be several thousand dollars).
What to Look for in a Personal Injury Attorney
Every attorney has different levels of contingency fees. It is important to consider the value of finding the right attorney. You don’t just hire the cheapest attorney. A skilled personal injury lawyer may be able to obtain a bigger settlement offer or judgment. Clearly, this will yield a larger net recovery.
Look for a personal injury lawyer with experience handling your type of case. You may find that someone who handles personal injury cases exclusively provides more focus to your case. Choose an attorney with a good reputation and a personality that meshes well with yours. You could be working closely with this person for quite a while.
Do you need legal assistance?
Michael Beliz is an experienced personal injury attorney dedicated to helping individuals receive fair compensation for their injuries. Contact our office in Long Beach, California to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.