Attorneys bill for their services in a few different ways. One way that's common among personal injury attorneys is take cases on a contingency basis. This is where the attorney agrees to only collect his or her fee if the plaintiff gets a settlement from the defendant or wins the case in court. While this is a good way to obtain legal representation if you're short on funds, it's important to thoroughly read the contingency contract before signing it, because there may be clauses stipulating you are responsible for paying certain expenses whether you win or lose. Here's what you need to know about this issue.
Requesting Payment for Expenses
Besides the fee attorneys charge for their time, there are a number of expenses that may be incurred while litigating the case. These expenses may include:
Depending on the complexity of the case and how long it goes one, these fees can be substantial, and attorneys handle how these fees will be paid in different ways.
Some attorneys only require payment for these expenses if the plaintiff wins his or her case. They will subtract the cost of litigating the case from the award and then take their contingency percentage from the balance. For instance, if you won $10,000 and it cost $2,000 to put together the case, the attorney will subtract that amount from the judgment and then take the agreed upon contingency percentage from the $8,000 balance.
If the plaintiff loses the case, however, then the attorney will write off the expenses and not make the plaintiff pay for them.
Other personal injury and truck accident attorneys, on the other hand, may require clients pay the expenses related to litigating the case and will only take their contingency fee from the award. They may ask the client to pay the expenses as they are incurred or when the case concludes. Regardless, win or lose, you are responsible for paying the attorney's expenses.
The attorney will typically discuss the matter with you before taking on your case. If the opportunity to do so doesn't come up, however, it's important to read the contract before signing it. The contract will usually detail how and when the contingency fee and expenses will be paid.
Every attorney handles his or her law firm differently, but it may be possible to negotiate this issue with the lawyer. For instance, if you have a strong case, the attorney may be willing to agree to take his or her expenses from your settlement check if the individual normally requires upfront payment. If you're short on cash, some attorneys may accept payment arrangements.
Before proceeding with your case, make sure you and your attorney come to an agreement about how the individual's services will be paid to avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road. For more information about the cost of litigating a case, contact an attorney near you.
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