You've likely seen advertisements for personal injury firms claiming that their services are offered at no charge with zero upfront cost unless they win your case. Is this really true? Do personal injury lawyers really work for free?
In short, the answer is yes.
Most personal injury lawyers work on a "contingency fee" basis. A contingency fee is an arrangement wherein the lawyer is paid only upon winning his client's case. If the lawyer fails to recover money for the client, the lawyer does not get paid. It is a high-risk arrangement. Lawyers can invest a significant amount of time and money into the case without any guarantee of receiving compensation for their work. However, some lawyers work on a retainer arrangement or hourly basis. In a retainer arrangement, the client must pay money to the attorney upfront to retain his services. Unlike attorneys that work on a retainer, clients pay no money to retain a personal injury lawyer. There are no hours billed to the client in most personal injury cases. To retain a personal injury lawyer, one signs a contract agreeing to share a percentage of monies recovered with the lawyer or law firm (usually 33 1/3%). Personal injury lawyers work at no cost to the client unless the lawyer succeeds in prosecuting the personal injury case.
In most personal injury cases, the lawyer will front all of the costs associated with prosecuting the case. The lawyer will pay investigators, court reporters, expert witnesses, court costs, and any other expenditures necessary to prove up the client's injury case. If the lawyer loses the case and recovers no money for the client, the lawyer loses the money invested into his client’s case, and he is paid nothing. Because the contingency fee arrangement is extremely risky, some lawyers choose not to take on personal injury cases. Handling a personal injury case could result in a substantial loss of money to the lawyer or the law firm if the case is lost. As such, personal injury lawyers spend a lot of time vetting cases before they take them on. The lawyer will evaluate the risks associated with the case before agreeing to take the case. If the lawyer feels that he cannot win the personal injury case, he will decline the representation of the potential client. In evaluating a case for representation, personal injury lawyers look at the facts of the case, potential defenses to the case, the law governing the case, and the chances of success in prosecuting the case. The lawyer will also evaluate the amount of liability insurance or assets available to compensate his client. If there is not enough insurance or assets available, the lawyer may decline to take the case.
Attorney Aaron Watson has been handling personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis for ten years in Northwest Florida. Every new personal injury client receives a free case evaluation and a free lawyer until the case is won. If the case is won and monies are recovered for the client, The Watson Firm is paid from the proceeds of any settlement or trial verdict reached. If you feel you have a personal injury case, call The Watson Firm today for a free case evaluation. Our clients only pay us only if we win their case. In other words, we work for free unless and until we win our client's injury case.