Clients Pay Lawyers a Percentage of Settlement in Personal Injury Case
One of the most common questions a potential client asks a personal injury attorney how much money it will cost for their services?
In California, most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency-fee basis which means a client only pays the lawyer if they win the case. If they lose, the client doesn’t pay the attorney fees. This makes it possible for the average person to get legal representation.
Generally, those fees are a percentage of the compensation or settlement recovered in a claim to an insurance company or a verdict the attorney wins for a client at trial. Typically, those fees start out at around 33 percent, but grows to 40 percent if the case goes to trial. The costs increase significantly if the attorney has to file a lawsuit compared to a case settled out of court.
While that may sound high to some folks, keep in mind that if there is no settlement they pay nothing. So the attorney is taking a risk because if they lose a case, they don’t get paid for their work. That’s why generally speaking, lawyers are selective when they take on a case and mostly choose clients they can help obtain a settlement.
California State Bar Association
Under California law, a client and lawyer must have a written fee agreements. This applies to cases where the attorney anticipates their fees and costs for your case will reach $1,000 or more.
This agreement should define exactly what the contingency fee agreement is and the percentage you will pay as described above.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Attorneys will only get paid if they prove their client’s case and obtain compensation for their client. Under California law, a person can recover three types of damages in personal injury claims. Specifically, there is economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
An example of economic damages is medical costs such as hospital bills and ambulance services. Other economic costs are funeral expenses, lost wages and property damage. Meanwhile, a person also has non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship and post traumatic stress disorder.
Punitive damages or exemplary damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damage when a case goes to trial. This is typically done to punish the wrongdoer or “defendant.” Also, these damages are meant to deter others from engaging in the same dangerous behavior or negligent actions. These damage are awarded if the lawyer proves the defendant’s actions are especially reckless, wanton or intentional.
Some states have a cap on the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded, but California does not.
California Accident Attorney 1-800-235-6801
What is your personal injury case worth? Attorney James Johnson has been helping those injured in California recoup compensation for their many losses for roughly two decades. Furthermore, Johnson Attorneys Group has helped hundreds of people over the years and we work tirelessly to help our clients. We hope this news information is timely and helpful. However, if you have additional questions, would like to discuss a potential case or have legal questions about a potential personal injury case, please contact us as soon as possible. Our law firm is a proud, longtime supporter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
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