Contingency fee’s explained by Car Accident Attorney John Kelly
We’re with John Kelly.
John Kelly has agreed to answer a question that was posted online.
He’s a car accident attorney in Phoenix, Arizona. John, the question for you was, “Can you explain car accident fees as well as contingency fees?
Car Accident Attorney John Kelly
Yeah sure, car accident fees, most personal injury attorneys, so if you’re injured in a car accident and you have a personal injury claim, there are several different types of fee arrangements that attorneys can use.
There can be a flat fee where you have to pay an attorney upfront a flat amount for what they’re gonna work the rest of your case. You can do it on an hourly basis or you can do a contingency fee agreement which most personal injury attorneys use.
So contingency fee agreements, what that means is that you don’t actually have to pay the attorney anything until they are successful with your case and that’s the way that my practice is run with a car accident.
So what happens is, someone comes in in a car accident?
we sign a fee agreement that tells them that after the case is settled, that I’m going to take a percentage of the fee or the settlement that comes in and that’s the global settlement. So there’s probably a lot of questions with that which I can try to address a few of those. That means basically that I’m working on your case until we are successful on the case without any money paid to me.
Now when that gets settled, I would take a percentage of that. So one of the things that you have to consider though, with a lot of personal injury attorneys that are not always discussed right off the bat are,
How are the costs associated with the case going to be handled?
So expert witnesses, people that are coming in to do evaluations, engineers, anyone that needs to testify at trial. These are all people that need to be paid upfront so you want to make sure that you ask your attorney.
I understand that I’m going to be paying a percentage of the settlement, the global settlement of the case, but how are we going to take care of the costs?” Some firms and attorneys will say, “Look, I’ll front all the costs but I want those all recouped at the end.”
Others will say, “Look, I’m willing to front the costs and not get that recouped.” So it’s something that you can ask your attorney about and negotiate. Now the percentage is another thing that you want to know about and most attorneys in Arizona are about a third of the settlement; some are a little higher, some are lower.
So you want to talk about that too. And then finally, you want to understand how that fee is going to work in the end.
So what happens is once your attorney; let’s say that you didn’t go to trial you actually settled the claim. That’s when you actually get paid on your case you don’t get the money until you actually are successful in settling your case or winning at trial. So when your attorney settles it, they typically have to put it in their bank account, their client trust fund for a few days. All the money will go to the firm, they’ll pay all your medical care providers, they’ll negotiate any liens that you have meaning anything that the medical care providers are wanting as far as payment, and sometimes they can get reductions on the amounts that they want. And then they’ll pay you the rest and so some of the times there’s a question of, “Well is it worth it to me to pay an attorney, you know a percentage of the fee?” So some of the things you have to keep in mind are that the attorneys know how the insurance companies work. We know how to make sure that you’re getting the maximum benefit of your fee, your settlement. We know how to make sure that we’re looking at all avenues of settlements.
So if there are other insurance policies that are available we’ll look at those and try to get that money too. We know how to read your own insurance policy and a lot of times you have extra benefits that you’re unaware of there. And then we’re aware of getting reductions in a lot of your medical expenses that allow you to have more money in your pocket in the end. So those are some of the things to consider and I hope this is helpful.