I can tell you that in my experience, in California, a 33% contingency fee pre-trial, and a 40% fee for trial is about standard. Also, I have seen my colleagues cut their fees many times when the lien scenario is unfavorable to a client. There are those who take their ethical and moral obligations helping injured people very seriously. It depends on the attorney
Most attorneys take a fee on the gross amount but this is always something that can be negotiated. The amount of the fee can be negotiated as well. The decision is then up to you as to the fee you are willing to pay.
The attorney is a business and you are a consumer/customer. If you walked into a big named department store, looked at the price tag of something you want, and did not like the price, you simply walk out of the store without buying. The same is true of attorneys. You had literally hundreds, and maybe thousands of attorneys to choose from. You were presented with terms. You accepted them. It is unfortunate that you would now malign the attorney for simply enforcing the terms of the agreement you were presented with and agreed to.
The attorney did not brutalize you in any sense of the term by taking his or her fee, the same as the grocery store down the street from you brutalizes you when it asks you for the price of the potatoes you decided to buy.
Furthermore, remember that liens are not the attorney's fault. Liens are paying other professionals who provided services to you at no initial charge, and who agreed to wait some time before ever getting paid, and in some cases knowing that they will get nothing for their work if no recovery was made.
I understand your frustration that at the end, you are not the one getting the largest sum of money, but remember that you have been provided with a great deal of professional assistance and if those professionals had not been willing to risk not being paid, and waiting to get paid, you would have nothing and perhaps been suffering from whatever injuries you experienced at the hand of the other driver.
My suggestion is to step back and see this from a higher perspective.
Good luck to you.
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Let me ask you this question. Why is their a contingent fee at all. What happens if the case is lost? Why should I take that risk on my behalf and on behalf of my family. Why don't I just charge an hourly rate for my time and win or lose I get paid. Why do I pay in advance the client's expenses to prepare the case and take it to trial? Doctors where I practice on a car accident case charge upwards of $1000 to $1500 for a report that is basically the same thing in his/her records just that it says Mr. Mr. Lawyer. And when I need his/her deposition they routinely want $4,500 for the first hour and $500 for every half hour after that. (And for what, they don't even have to leave their office, I come to them--not sure why the patient does not complaint about that--no work there, sometimes they just read from their notes or read the letter they wrote me) If I lose, I'm out that money.
Why do I take on a client's medical negligence case or any other case for that matter--again on contingency when the insurance companies, T=people, Fox News, Republicans in general have poisoned the jury verdict--for instance, I am sure, you the Asker believe their are many frivolous lawsuits filed--you know that someone---you believe it's true (It's a myth and a hoax, by the way) So why am I taking these cases when for instance in my county--considered the second best county in the state to file a medical malpractice lawsuit--outside of Philadelphia--Pennsylvania has been described as Pittsburgh on one end, Philadelphia on the other and Alabama in the middle --where more than 90 percent of those cases that go to trial are against the patient. Experts for those cases can cost $25,0000.00 or more for the day. Can 90 percent really be frivolous and lawyers still file them when just one expert will cost them $25,0000.00
I didn't create my client's miseries as you describe them but I do what I can to make their lives better and get them some modicum of justice. I could find some other work to do with less risk. There is an excellent lawyer on this forum who shares your views on what lawyers should charge. He also does "God's work" and his fees are much less--God Bless him--I admire and respect him but for me, my fee if $40 percent of anything recovered plus my expenses.
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