What Percentage Do Lawyers Take for a Personal Injury Case?

Most people have seen or heard this familiar promise made in an ad for a personal injury lawyer: “You don’t pay us unless we win.” You might naturally have wondered if it’s a gimmick. The answer is no — these legal professionals are promoting what’s known as a contingency fee.

What Is A Contingency Fee?

A contingency fee is one of the most common payment structures personal injury attorneys offer. One definition of “contingent” is “dependent on or conditioned by something else.” This is the meaning legal professionals are inferring — if they win the case, they’ll receive payment from the client’s compensation award; if they lose, the client pays nothing in attorney’s fees.

A contingency fee arrangement is structured to provide the attorney with a percentage of the client’s recovery via a settlement or verdict. The percentage the attorney claims may depend on several factors, including:

  • The nature of the case
  • The extent of the client’s injuries
  • The attorney’s track record
  • The location of the proceedings

Many states have caps restricting the cut a personal injury attorney can take in a contingency agreement. Attorney fees may be capped at a specific percentage or on a sliding scale.

Contingency Percentages

Nationwide, the average contingency fee personal injury attorneys claim is around 33% of the total amount recovered. The American Bar Association places the range at one-third to 40%. Clients may be charged fees at the lower end for claims resolved through settlement, while cases that go to trial may land at the upper end.

The contingency fee generally covers the attorney’s advertised legal services. Additional costs, such as those associated with police reports and medical records, court filings and exhibits, expert witnesses, and investigation services, are usually subtracted from the total amount won.

While unusual, a lawyer may require you to pay these costs when they become due. Check with your attorney and the terms of your agreement to be sure.

“Sliding Scales”

A fixed percentage isn’t the only type of contingency fee arrangement. Some attorneys use a scheme that combines a percentage (albeit smaller) with an hourly rate. This is also known as a partial contingency fee agreement.

A third option is a sliding-scale approach, in which the attorney’s fees are determined by the stage at which the case resolves. The majority of personal injury cases end via a settlement with the insurance companies. With that fact in mind, the client and their lawyer can negotiate an agreement that will reduce the percentage paid if the case settles without going to court.

A sliding-scale contingency structure might look like this: 30% if the case is settled before a lawsuit is filed, 35% if the case is settled after a lawsuit is filed, and 40% if the client wins in court following a trial.

A Win-Win for Clients and Lawyers

Contingency fees have many advantages. They offer clients with severe injuries quick access to a personal injury attorney. They also make legal representation more affordable for those with limited financial resources.

The attorney also benefits by ensuring fair compensation for their services. This payment structure provides them with an incentive to achieve a successful resolution to the case and expand their client base. In the end, everyone wins.

Most lawyers in this area of the law also offer free initial consultations, where you can get some legal advice about your case at no charge.

Contact the Arizona Personal Injury Lawyers at Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers Today

If you were injured in an accident in Phoenix, AZ, and need legal help, contact our Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case review today.

Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers
1221 E Osborn Rd. Suite 201
Phoenix, AZ 85014
(602) 595-5559