Our practice is limited to serious personal injury cases in which we charge a "contingency fee." The contingency upon which our fee is based is our client’s recovery – whether by settlement or judgment after trial.
If our client does not recover compensation, we earn no fee.
When we recover compensation for our client, we are paid a percentage of the "gross recovery." The gross recovery is the full amount of the settlement or judgment, before any litigation costs or liens are paid from it.
In addition to our fees being contingent on the recovery of compensation for our client, we also advance litigation costs, later paid back to us from the settlement or judgment. Like our fees, if our client does not recover compensation, we are not paid back the litigation costs we have paid. As we have said in other articles in this website, we do not take a case unless we want to help and we think we can do something really good for our client. And, as we have also already said, we handle every case form the beginning to end as if it will go to trial (although few of our cases go to trial, and in fact, few of our cases go to trial because we are ready to take them to trial).
The fees we usually charge are one-third of the gross recovery before litigation (a complaint is filed in court), and 40% of the gross recovery after litigation is commenced. We routinely change the triggering event for the increase from one-third to 40% to some date after litigation is started, closer to trial, such as the date the court sets the trial date, or when expert witnesses are disclosed (50 days before trial), and as a practical matter, we often do not charge 40% even though the date for the increase has passed, depending on what has happened in the case. When we represent injured minors, we typically charge 25%, because most courts limit attorney’s fees in minors’ cases to 25% of the net recovery (the amount left after litigation costs have been paid back out of the gross recovery).
There are lawyers who charge more than one-third/40%; there are also lawyers who charge less.
When you consider the contingency fee a lawyer presents to you, think about the level of expertise and service the lawyer is offering. The lawyer who charges less, say 25%, may not be solely focused on personal injury cases; the lawyer might do personal injury and probate, family law, business litigation, etc., etc. Or the lawyer may not be the person you will be speaking to during the case, and instead you will be handed off to a paralegal or assistant.
If you are seriously injured, and need a lot of compensation, you can afford a skilled lawyer, one whose sole focus is personal injury law, and who will be the person you talk to when you call the law office to discuss your case. You really can’t afford not to get the best representation.