Most injury cases are handled on a contingent fee ranging from 33% to 35%, plus litigation costs. Some attorneys will give you a sliding scale for the fee which means that if the case resolves before litigation, the fee may be lower but if the case goes all the way to trial, it will be higher. When choosing an attorney, the fee percentage is an important but not the most important consideration. You should also look at the attorney's expertise and trial experience. The most important thing you can do is ask questions during the initial interview. Ask how many trials he/she has been involved in. Ask whether the work on the case will be done by the attorney or a paralegal. Ask if the attorney has handles a case like yours before. All of these factors should be considered when selecting which attorney will handle your case.
Disclaimer - We have not created an attorney/client relationship. Please do not consider this legal advice addressing your specific case.
The standard fee in most PI cases is 33 1/3, In medical malpractice cases, the standard is 40%. There are discount lawyers who charge less, but those contracts often have escalator clauses -- 25% if it settles on demand, 30% if a complaint is filed, 40% if it is tried, 45% if an appeal is taken, etc. These clauses can create conflicts. For example, if the fee goes up upon filing suit, the client has a major disincentive to litgating, and may feel pushed to accept a lower amount in settlement. Many attorneys will reduce their fee if the result is unfair to the client, but that is an issue that usually comes up in the context of settlement. Personally, I do not negotiate fees up front because I don't know at that point how much work the case will take.
That said, if you have a serious case, shopping for price is not the best strategy. Instead, try to get the best attorney you can for a standard fee. In a tough case, a good attorney can make a big difference. The best way to find the right attorney is by referral from a satisfied client or another lawyer.
Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and advice about personal injury law.