You have probably seen their ads on television: personal injury attorneys who offer to represent you with no fee unless you win your case. Perhaps you have wondered how this is possible. After all, attorneys are not in the business of giving away their time. How can they afford to take a case when they aren’t guaranteed victory?
The answer to that question is a bit more complicated than can be effectively addressed in a single post. However, it is possible to give you a basic understanding by looking at some of the fundamentals. What you read below is compliments of the VG Law Group, a Florida law firm that specializes in personal injuries and car accident cases.
Charging on a Contingency Basis
An attorney offering a ‘no fee unless you win’ policy works on a contingency basis. Getting paid is a matter of that attorney doing his/her job well enough to either secure an out-of-court settlement or prevail in court. A contingency fee is essentially a percentage of any award received.
Let’s use some random numbers for purposes of illustration. Let us say your personal injury attorney works on a 10% contingency fee. Let’s also say a court awards you $1 million in damages. The actual award would be paid to your attorney. He would keep $100,000 and pay you the remaining $900,000.
Contingency fees do two things: they provide the attorneys income and cover his/her expenses. Those expenses include everything from witness fees to filing fees and investigative costs. All of the work your attorney puts into your case has to be covered by the contingency fee, and then some.
Cases Are Carefully Considered
Lawyers at the VG Law Group explain that car accident attorneys in Florida and across the country have to be incredibly careful about the cases they take. Because they are working on contingency fees, they cannot afford to put the time and effort into cases they believe they cannot win. Therefore, they concentrate on cases they are fairly confident are winnable.
Attorneys will sit down with clients for what is called the intake consultation. During this interview, an attorney will ask all sorts of questions in hopes of determining exactly what happened. Then he/she will lay out what kind of case, if any, the client has. From there the two can decide on further action.
When the Relationship Doesn’t Work Out
The vast majority of relationships between personal injury attorneys and their clients result in something positive. But that is not always the case. Sometimes relationships don’t work out, in which case the client has to fire his/her lawyer in favor of new representation. This sort of situation may lead the fired attorney to file a lien against any potential settlement or court award.
The lien is intended to recover the fired attorney’s costs. This is something accident victims really have to be careful about. That’s why it’s so important to not just choose the first car accident attorney you run across. It is why accident victims should do their homework and carefully screen attorneys before choosing one.
In cases where contingency-based attorneys take cases and lose, that’s it. They have put in their time and effort for no reward. Is it any wonder that personal injury attorneys attempt to settle out-of-court? They would rather get a smaller settlement then risk going to court and getting nothing.
Now you know how personal injury attorneys can offer ‘no fee unless you win’ policies. They only take cases they are reasonably confident in winning, then take a percentage of the settlement or award to cover their costs.