Legal Fees in Personal Injury Cases

Most lawyers, including the attorneys at Baumgartner, Nelson & Wagner, PLLC, charge a contingency fee in personal injury cases.  Under a contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer does not charge the client an hourly attorney fee as the case progresses.  Instead, the lawyer agrees to accept a fixed percentage of the client’s recovery, 33% being common, as a fee, and is paid this fee out of the client’s recovery.  The fee is “contingent” because the lawyer only receives a fee if and when the client receives a recovery. 

Injury victims do not choose to be involved in an accident and already may be dealing with massive medical bills and lost of wages as a result.  They usually cannot afford to pay an attorney by the hour.  Recognizing this, the personal injury lawyer takes on the risk of the case with the expectation of payment out of the recovery at the end of the case.  Under a contingent fee arrangement, victims can focus on their recovery, without worrying about how they can afford experienced legal representation. 

There are critics of contingency fees, who argue they encourage frivolous lawsuits.  But personal injury lawyers working under a contingent fee agreement only get paid when there is a recovery.  So they will not want to invest time and resources on a case unless they think they can obtain a recovery for their client.  If your case settles quickly you may end up paying more in a contingent fee than you would pay by the hour.  But on the other hand, your case may take 18 months to two years or more of challenging litigation to resolve.  Under a contingent fee arrangement, you do not have to worry about paying an experienced lawyer $200 to $400 per hour in this situation.