Looking for a personal injury lawyer? If so, you’ve probably noticed that the market is very competitive. Because of this, it would be rare to find a lawyer who would want to charge you on an hourly basis for representation, when you could easily call another personal injury lawyer that won’t charge a fee until your claim resolves. Even though in personal injury cases a contingency fee basis is the most common fee agreement, it is important to always ask and have a clear understanding as to which of the following billing methods your lawyer will be using for your case.
When a attorney’s fee is contingent upon him recovering a monetary settlement or receiving a judgment on behalf of his client, it is called working on a “contingency.” A contingency fee generally works best for injury claims because people don’t plan to become injured nor can they predict their injuries and the last thing you want to worry about when you are injured is paying a lawyer. Car wrecks, work-related injuries, slip and falls- there is never a “financially opportune” time for them to happen. They are economically straining and stressful no matter when they happen. Therefore, hiring a lawyer that won’t collect until you get paid is one less thing you have to worry about. It also puts you as a client at a natural advantage, because in order for the lawyer to get paid he or she must work your case and resolve the claim.
In the infrequent circumstance that a personal injury lawyer will only agree to represent you for an hourly fee rather than a contingency fee, it may not necessarily mean that lawyer is trying to pull one over on you. It could be a sign that your case requires intense and costly upfront investigation or unlikely to yield a large payoff. Any lawyer you might choose should always feel comfortable addressing why he or she has chosen to represent you for an hourly rate instead of a contingency and should be upfront about any potential difficulties with your claim.
Taking a Case on an Investigation Basis
In some cases, personal injury lawyers may take your case on an “investigation” basis. This could be because the lawyer may not have enough information about your claim and its potential weaknesses and strengths or because it may make better sense financially for you to handle your claim on your own or perhaps another lawyer is better suited to best serve you. Though this may not be true in all circumstances, most often with cases taken on investigation, the attorney will incur any expenses on the front end from acquiring evidence, obtaining the police report, hiring experts and ordering preliminary records. So by comparison, taking a case for investigatory purposes is most similar to taking a case on a contingency basis in that the upfront financial expenses fall on the representing attorney. If the attorney decides at any point that the case is not strong enough or that the cost of taking a case on will exceed what the case is worth, he or she may decide to withdraw from representation. The attorney would not seek reimbursement from the potential client since there was no recovery – just like a contingency.
Since in most cases you don’t have to worry about paying anything upfront the focus then turns to determining who- out of all of the phonebook, TV and radio ads- is truly the most competent and knowledgeable about handling your particular type of case. It may cost nothing to hire a lawyer, but if that lawyer doesn’t take the necessary measures to appropriately resolve your claim for what it’s worth- it could cost you thousands in lost potential dollars on your claim. Dollars that could have been used toward paying for your treatment, your bills and securing your family’s future.
Rest assured, at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm we put those fears to rest. Rocky and his team of Gladiators in suits don’t know how to settle for less than the maximum. We fight hard for every client and every case from our Music Row headquarters all the way to the courtroom. We have the experience and the skills to take down the big insurance companies and ensure that you receive the recovery you are entitled to. Don’t settle less. If you’ve been seriously injured, we fight for you. (615) 425-2500