Here’s the scenario: Someone ran a red light and crashed into your car. You’re hurt and angry. The last thing you want to do is shell out thousands of dollars for medical bills and legal fees when it wasn’t even your fault.
Good news: A Missoula personal injury lawyer can get you the compensation you deserve without a huge payment up front.
That’s because most personal injury lawyers work on contingency. Or as we say, “No win, no fee.” You don’t pay us a retainer or hourly fees. We only get paid if we win your case!
So how do contingency fees work? Well, usually personal injury lawyers get a set percentage of your settlement (33% to 40%). So if you win a $60,000 settlement for your injuries, your attorneys keep about $20,000 of that.
Contingency fees for personal injury lawyers vary based on when you settle. If we send a demand letter to the at-fault party, asking for a certain amount of money, and they agree to pay it (or something in the ballpark), we can settle outside of court. In that case, lawyer fees are generally locked in at 33%.
But it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes the driver, his/her insurance company, or the company at fault ignores our demand letter or refuses to pay what you deserve. In that case, we may decide to file a lawsuit, although a lawsuit does not mean you will see the inside of a courtroom, it is part of the process of resolution.
This takes more research and work on our part to build you an even stronger case for court, so the contingency fee increases to 40%. Then again, you might get a higher settlement from going to court. It just depends on the details of your case and what your attorney thinks would be wise.
Personal Injury Lawyer Expenses
Fighting for your case will involve various expenses. We might need to order your medical records or a police report.
Going to court is more expensive than settling beforehand. If we take your case to trial, we’ll have to pay for expert witnesses and various deposition fees. A personal injury lawyer will either ask you to pay for these expenses as they arise, or subtract them from your settlement.
Benefits to Contingency Fees
The appeal of paying a lawyer in contingency fees rather than a flat and/or hourly fee is obvious. If we lose your case and you don’t get a settlement, you don’t owe us anything. A side benefit of this is that we probably won’t take your case unless we think we can get you a settlement — which means you aren’t wasting your time. Plus, as your personal injury attorney gets paid at the end of the case, we’re incentivized to be efficient and not drag your case out. We are both out to obtain the most money we can for you. The more we obtain for you, the more we make for our firm.
So Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
I’ve written a longer post about when to hire a personal injury lawyer, but here are the highlights. If it looks like the guilty party’s insurance company isn’t going to give you an adequate settlement, or they won’t compensate you at all, you definitely need a Missoula personal injury attorney. If your injuries are minor, then probably not. Another sign is if you talk to a lot of personal injury lawyers and they won’t take your case. That might mean your settlement will be too small for the contingency fee to cover the lawyer’s actual work. (With a $1,000 settlement, about $333 would go to your lawyer, which can’t cover the time it takes to resolve a case.)
Want a free consultation about your personal injury case? We’ll help you figure out whether it’s worth hiring a lawyer and how to get the settlement you deserve.
Call or email Judnich Law today:
Marty is a former criminal prosecutor in the Cascade County Attorney’s Office and now uses that experience to defend those accused of crimes. A University of Montana School of Law graduate, Marty focuses his practice on personal injury and criminal defense and is a premier DUI defense attorney. He is also well versed in the insurance claims industry and has negotiated significant settlements with nearly every major insurance company.