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Atlanta personal injury lawyers, including wrongful death, car accident and injury lawyers typically represent a client on a what is known as a contingency fee. That means the client does not have to pay anything to the lawyer and will never get a bill. Instead, the lawyer gets a percentage of the gross amount the insurance company pays for the case. Putting it simply; for an injury case that is settled prior to suit being filed, the fee would be $33,000 on a $100,000 dollar settlement with the client receiving $66,000, less any medical reimbursements and costs owed.
Over the years, a number of personal injury clients have called and their initial question is, how much do you charge. This is a natural question because, in many commercial transactions, it is the first thing we think of.
I understand the origin but let me explain why this is the most dangerous thing you can do. Would you ever go to the doctor’s office and compare two different back surgeons on price alone? Of course not because your primary concern is living and living without pain, not the cost. It is not a cost-driven decision and neither is hiring a personal injury lawyer.
Injury lawyers differ drastically in their skill, diligence, and reputation. The fools that you see advertised on TV are at the bottom of the pile. They do not go to court and are pushed to settle everyone’s case cheaply. The small mom and pop law firm that dabbles in everything may only charge you 25% but they can end up costing you well over 100% because they mishandle the case.
In other words, hiring an injury lawyer is not “who is cheaper” kind of decision. It is a “who is better for me in the long-run decision.” Take your time, shop around and ask the lawyer what they think they can accomplish in the case and whether they will put it in writing.
At Christopher Simon Attorney at Law, we approach fees differently. For typical cases that settle pre-suit, our fees are 33%. If the case gets filed in the courts, it shifts to 39%. The key difference is twofold:
This results in substantial savings to our clients and more accurately reflects fair compensation for our efforts as attorneys.
We still charge 39% for litigated cases because there is a quantum increase in the amount of work that goes into litigated files. Remember that your case is always your case and not the attorney’s case so the decision on whether to settle or to go into litigation is up to you. It is important to note that for all lawyers practicing injury and wrongful death, the fee goes up when the lawsuit is filed, not just when it goes to trial. Keep that in mind as a consumer.
If you have questions about attorneys fees, feel free to contact the firm.