When navigating the maze of personal injury law, you’ll soon encounter the term ‘contingency fee’. This can sound as perplexing as the plot of a Kafka novel. Quite simply, your injury lawyer takes a slice of the settlement they wrestle out of the clenched fists of the opposition, or that the judgment bestows. But here’s the twist. The size of the slice can depend on the layers and layers of complexity of your case, and the lawyer’s own unique policies. Usually, they calculate it as a certain percentage of the total recovery, wavering around the 25% to 40% mark.
Here’s another curveball. Sometimes, lawyers opt for a more hourly rhythm, charging based on the hours clocked up. Or, alternatively, they may opt for a flat fee, a set sum for the whole shebang. But watch out! Make sure you get your head around the fine print of the fee agreement before signing on the dotted line. You need to know how many zeros you might be looking at on your bill.
Not everything is straightforward, though. There might be a few added extras, like court costs, filing fees, and even the cost of hiring expert witnesses. All these tend to be scooped out of your settlement or judgment before the lawyer’s contingency fee is juggled with.
But wait! There’s another plot twist. If you’re contemplating partnering with a personal injury lawyer, be sure to grill them with a series of pertinent questions. You need to map out their legal landscape, appreciate their experience, and figure out if they’re the right protagonist for your narrative.
There’s a multitude of questions you could hurl their way. Perhaps you might want to ask:
“How many candles have been on your birthday cake since you first practised law? And how many of those years have been dedicated to personal injury cases?”
“Can you tally up the number of personal injury cases you’ve juggled in the past?”
“Have you ever been entangled in a case that bears any resemblance to mine? If so, what was the grand finale?”
“Let’s talk money. How do you work out your fees and how will you pocket them?”
“How often will I hear from you about my case, and will you always be upfront?”
“What’s your battle plan for my case?”
“How do you come to a figure for the worth of a personal injury case?”
“Got a scorecard for your personal injury cases? What does it look like?”
“Any rave reviews or testimonials from past clients you could share?”
“Tell me more about your professional qualifications and any legal organizations you’re a card-carrying member of.”
Throwing such questions into the ring will help you discern the cut of their legal jib and can enable you to decide, with a degree of clarity, whether they’re worth enlisting.