Were you recently injured in an accident that wasn't your fault? Are you considering legal action against the liable party? One of the biggest questions you may have is how much legal representation will cost and how you will pay your attorney. Most attorneys accept personal injury cases on a contingency basis. That is, they accept their payment out of your settlement or award. The percentage that they take can vary based on how complex the case was, what their costs were, and your state's specific laws regarding legal fees. You probably want to get the biggest share possible out of your settlement, and one way to do that is to manage your attorney fees. Here are three ways to do just that:
Encourage the attorney to reach a settlement before filing a lawsuit. The amount of work your lawyer must do increases significantly once a lawsuit is filed. In fact, you may be able to negotiate an arrangement where the lawyer's share is reduced if a settlement is reached without having to go to court. Then, if a lawsuit is necessary, you can increase the lawyer's share to cover their increased workload. If the insurance company or other party offers an acceptable settlement before litigation, then you could accept it and keep your attorney's fees at a manageable level.
Negotiate fee based on settlement amount. It's possible to reach a settlement with an insurance company without any legal representation at all. Of course, many people opt for legal representation because the attorney's knowledge and skill may help them get a bigger settlement. With that in mind, you may want to negotiate a fee schedule in which the attorney's fee rises if he or she reaches a certain settlement threshold amount. If they feel that they can likely reach that amount, they'll probably be open to the idea. And even though you'll pay more in fees, you'll benefit by getting a larger overall settlement.
Managing expenses as they arise. There are two components to attorney compensation. One component is their fee. The other is reimbursement for all of the expenses they racked up while litigating your case. Those expenses can include things like postage, filing for police and medical reports, making copies, paying for investigators, travelling to interview witnesses, and more. You can manage those expenses by covering them yourself during the litigation process. For example, you may be able to save money by making copies for your lawyer at your workplace. Or you may be able to deliver records yourself so your lawyer doesn't have to use a courier service. Ask your attorney about how you can help with these costs so they won't take a big share of your settlement.
For more information, talk to several personal injury attorneys in your area. They can advise you on other ways to manage your legal costs. Click here for info on this subject if you're interested in learning more.