Hi, I’m John Medler, personal injury lawyer with The Medler Law Firm – Personal Injury & Accident Attorneys. Today I’d like to talk to you about how much personal injury lawyers charge. Unlike many types of attorneys like divorce attorneys who will charge you hundreds of dollars per hour, personal injury lawyers don’t work by charging you by the hour. We work on what’s called a ‘contingency fee.’ And that means that we, as the case proceeds, fund all the expenses of your lawsuit and only get paid if and when there is a recovery at the end of the case.
Generally, personal injury lawyers will charge between 33% and 40% of the amount you recover. Whether it’s 33% or 40% depends in large part on how complicated your case is. Some lawyers will do a blended amount. They’ll say, for example, if the case resolves quickly within the first six months, then it’ll be 33%. But if we have to go to court and we have file a lawsuit, then it will be 40%. Ask your personal injury lawyer what his percentage is.
There’s a few examples, for example medical malpractice in California, the amount of the attorney’s contingency fee is actually set by statute. You should know that in nearly all cases, the attorneys contingency fee is negotiable, so if a lawyer tells you it’s 40% and you don’t like that, see if you can negotiate for a lower amount. Oftentimes the attorney will work out some kind of an arrangement with you.
Many people ask why the percentage is so high and the reason personal injury lawyers will tell you is because we take on a significant risk for you. Not only risk of our own time in terms of not being paid for our work, but also expenses that we pay out of our own pocket on your behalf. For example, let’s say you need an expert witness. We’d have to write a check for thousands of dollars to that expert, and if we lose the case, we’ll never get that money back. So we’re taking a significant risk and hoping that we win the case and you’re entitled to recovery. Think about that in any other context with any other type of professional. If you hired a stockbroker to invest your money and you paid them a fee and the market went south and you lost money. Would your stockbroker say, “Hey, I’m just gonna write off all those fees and you don’t owe me anything.” If a doctor performed an appendicitis for you and then you got an infection later. Would the doctor come back later and say, “Hey, you don’t owe me anything.” It doesn’t work that way with other professions.
We’re one of the few professions that is willing to work for you. Not only for our time, but to expend money on your behalf, and if it doesn’t work out you don’t owe us anything. So that’s why we charge the percentage that we do. If you have any other questions about how personal injury lawyers charge their clients, call our Orange County injury attorney at The Medler Law Firm – Personal Injury & Accident Attorneys and check out our website at www.MedlerLawFirm.com.