ATTORNEY'S FEES EXPLAINED
Most people injured in a car accident cannot afford the hourly fee of an experienced trial attorney. The hourly fee can exceed $500.00 an hour. Personal injury lawyers understand the public cannot afford to pay an hourly rate. As a result, injury attorneys offer a contingency fee.
WHAT IS A CONTINGENCY FEE?A contingency fee means the attorney's fee is a percentage of your recovery. Typically, an injury lawyer's fee is 33% of a settlement before filing a lawsuit and 40% after the filing of a lawsuit.
For example, your lawyer settles an injury case for $100,000.00. He earns $33,000.00 based on a fee of 33%. He earns $40,000.00 on a fee of 40%.
WHY DO LAWYERS CHARGE 33% AND 40%?The fee of an attorney is negotiable. There is no fixed standard. The amount of any fee depends on many important factors. One of the most critical factors is the uncertainty and risk involved in a case. There is no guarantee of a favorable outcome. A lawyer will spend a considerable amount of money and time on a case expecting a positive result, but there is no sure thing. The fee takes into consideration the risk and expenses.
Another essential factor is the attorney's background, training, and experience. An injury attorney who has considerable practical and trial experience is invaluable. Although there are many personal injury lawyers, there are very few trial lawyers. And of those who have gone to trial, only a few belong to the American Board of Trial Advocates ("ABOTA"). ABOTA is the pre-imminent group of trial lawyers in the United States. Each member of ABOTA must have a minimum of 20 jury trials. Less than one-half of one percent of practicing personal injury lawyers belong to this organization. MCIS is a member of ABOTA.
Why should a trial lawyer represent you? The first thing an insurance company looks for is the trial experience of the lawyer. As a former insurance company lawyer, I was often asked to research the other lawyer. The adjuster wants to know if the lawyer is someone who will fold as the case gets closer to trial. Many injury lawyers have a reputation of settling on the courthouse steps. Insurance companies know the lawyers who are afraid and those who are not scared to go to trial.
Why does this matter? A claims adjuster will not offer full value to a lawyer who does not try cases. The adjuster will wait until closer to trial and force the lawyer to take a lesser amount knowing he will fold. Regrettably, the client will never know that his lawyer has settled for less than the full value of the case. A seasoned lawyer with trial experience is worth the percentage you pay him.