Many personal injury victims think they cannot afford to hire a personal injury attorney. They are often surprised to discover that the attorney’s payment is structured so you do not pay upfront costs. That way, the injury victim can still get the medical treatments they need while still having their legal rights represented.
There are several ways to ensure the personal injury attorney gets paid, but once you have lost your legal rights by not following through on a case after the statute of limitations expires, you have lost those rights forever.
Most personal injury attorneys understand that many accident victims cannot afford to pay for an attorney. That is why they have a contingent fee agreement in place. The lawyer is paid a portion of the settlement amount. This arrangement works well for several reasons. First, it means the accident victim has minimal out of pocket costs. Second, it gives the attorney high incentive to secure the maximum amount of compensation in the claim or lawsuit. Third, it helps the client share the risk of financial loss with the attorney. If there is no money attained through settlement or trial, the attorney is not paid.
The contingent fee arrangement usually involves court fees and assorted litigation costs. These fees can include the fees to file the suit, fees for expert witnesses, medical record fees and related costs. It is important to know if the personal injury attorney’s contingent fee is calculated before/after these costs are taken out of the settlement amount.
The settlement also can be subject to a medical lien. Some providers may accept private health insurance, but others will get their fee by filing a lien against the amount awarded in the personal injury settlement. This will require the lawyer to pay the lean before the settlement proceeds are given to the victim.
Occasionally, the attorney will be compensated through an hourly fee, but this is unusual in personal injury law.