Typically, a personal injury lawyer does not charge an upfront fee or consultation fees. The reason they do this is that they want to give clients an incentive to sign with them. After a case settles, then the fees will be imposed according to several factors, like the time spent on the case and how much was recovered. We will study each one of these individually. Some data from the official Census website will be used.
Personal injury lawyers will usually charge no upfront fees. If you go to the website of any such attorney, you will more often than not see wording to that effect. For example, the website of this personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles says their result is guaranteed. Basically, what this means is that they will review your case and figure out if you have a good case. If they decide that you do, they will not charge you any upfront fees. The reason they do this is to give potential clients an incentive to come in and discuss why they believe they might have a claim. Most average people do not know enough about the law to even make a reasonable determination as to whether or not they have a good case, and it would not be fair to them to pay $300 or more to an attorney just to hear that they don’t have a tangible case. Therefore, there are usually no fees for consultation.
After the case is settled, the fees will be determined based on the outcome. If the lawyer was not able to recover anything through out-of-court settlement or by filing a claim, then the fees would be zero. If the attorney files and makes a recovery, then the fees are typically between 30 to 40 percent. It really depends on what kind of business the law office is running, how many employees they have, the overhead costs, and how much time he spent on the case. If he spent a lot of time researching it, then obviously he will need to be paid more to make up for the hourly fee. For instance, a slip and fall lawyer might spend a significant amount of time researching a case just to find out the store was not negligent.
The above is what a typical lawyer will do. However, nobody has to be typical and have this fee structure. There is also another way of charging client: they can agree on a flat rate. For example, the attorney might review the facts of the case, and find out there is clear liability and the defendants have a great insurance policy. As a businessman, he knows this will be good and will take it. However, he is not sure if he will file in court or if the insurance company will recognize that there is clear liability and agree to pay out of court. Therefore, for the sake of the client, he might take the uncertainty out of the equation and charge a flat fee based on whatever he estimates the total will be. If it ends up being more, or less, there is nothing anyone can do because there was a binding agreement. Because there is no way for a client to track the number of hours spent on a case, the best way to settle is to either agree on a flat rate, or a percentage-based structure, which would be based on the final amount recovered.