When you’re hurt in a personal injury accident, you might wonder how to best pursue getting compensation for your injuries. Maybe you already appreciate the value of having an San Diego personal injury lawyer on board to represent you. However, you might wonder if you can afford to hire a lawyer for your personal injury claim.
Your attorney wants to help you succeed
The right San Diego personal injury lawyer likely entered the profession in order to help injured victims. To that end, they know that it’s often difficult to pay for their services up front or by the hour. For that reason, many attorneys offer what’s called a contingency fee agreement. While contingency fee agreements aren’t available in domestic relations or criminal cases, they’re a great option for personal injury cases when a deserving victim needs a great lawyer on their side.
With a contingency fee agreement, you only pay for your lawyer’s services when you win your case. Your attorney fronts the cost of litigation. They also perform their initial services with no cost to you unless you collect a settlement or win a trial verdict in your case. Once you reach a settlement or you win at trial, your attorney collects a small percentage of your recovery as payment for their work in the case.
You stay in control of your case
Even though your attorney gets paid when you win, it’s up to you to decide when to resolve the case. If the opposing party makes a great offer early on, you can choose to accept it. You also have the option to reject any settlement offers and proceed to trial. Your attorney can give you guidance, but the final choices in the case are up to you.
Advantages to a contingency fee
There are a few reasons that the contingency fee system is a win-win for deserving victims. With a contingency-based fee, your lawyer doesn’t bill by the hour. That means you don’t have to worry about getting a bill every time your attorney calls on the phone. If your attorney needs to file a court motion on your behalf, you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay for it. This gives you the opportunity to work with your attorney until you fully understand all of the steps in your case.
In addition, a contingency fee arrangement means that it’s to your advantage to hire your San Diego personal injury lawyers as soon as possible. Likely, the percent of the attorney’s fee is going to be the same whether you hire your attorney immediately after the injury or later in the process. This makes it possible for you to have a great attorney on your side the entire time.
Clear fee agreements
However an attorney agrees to charge you for their services, they should offer you a clear fee agreement. This should be in writing. The attorney should sign it and have you sign it as well.
They should go over the agreement with you, and they should give you the chance to ask any questions that you have about the fee agreement. An attorney should keep records of the time that they spend working on your case. The entire process should be transparent, so that you know exactly what you owe your attorney and how they arrived at the amount.
Each case is different
In the end, it’s up to each attorney to decide what they charge for services. What the attorney charges and how they bill for their services are two important questions for you to ask when you meet with a lawyer for the first time. You should make sure that you understand the attorney’s fee arrangement and that you’re comfortable with it. It’s important to start with a clear fee agreement that allows you and your attorney to focus your efforts on the merits of your case.