Many personal injury cases--and every medical malpractice case--requires hundreds of hours of attorney time and tens of thousands of dollars of investment in expenses such as filing fees, court reporters, expert and consulting fees, and medical exhibits. Very few people could afford to pursue such a case if they had to pay their attorneys and the case expenses as the case progresses. After all, most of our clients have already suffered a huge loss in earning capacity, medical bills, and loss of household income. That is why In cases in which we represent people who have a claim for injury or Wrongful Death due to the negligence of another person or corporation, we offer our clients a contingent fee contract. That contract provides that you will not pay us anything for legal fees unless we get a recovery for you either by settlement or judgment.
It also says that we will advance the expenses of the litigation for you. These expenses include filing fees, consultation fees, expert witness fees, travel expenses, court reporter costs, and many other expenses and costs that go with getting a case ready to settle or go to trial. You will never have to pay these expenses unless we get a recovery for you, in which case the expenses are reimbursed to us out of the client’s share of the recovery. If we do not get a recovery for you, then you owe us nothing: nothing for our time, and nothing for the money we spent on your case. This means that we take a large risk in time and money on every case we handle.
If there is a recovery, then we get the money we advanced for your case reimbursed to us, and we get paid a fee for our work.
From the client’s standpoint, the contingent fee allows them to hire lawyers they could never afford on an hourly fee basis (we charge $400 an hour for our time), and to avoid having to pay the cost of litigation at a time when their injuries have left them unable to do so. Our contingent fee contract makes it possible for our clients to sue for their injuries. Of course, if you would prefer to pay us on an hourly fee basis, and to pay the expenses of the litigation as they are incurred, we will give you that opportunity. But very few people can afford that option, and even fewer wish to take the risk. By placing almost all of the financial risk of your case on us, our contingent fee contract enables you to focus on recovery, rather than worrying about how you can pay for a lawsuit.
Defense lawyers are almost always paid by an insurance company that insures the defendant: drivers, corporations and doctors all have insurance, and their insurance companies all have experienced and qualified lawyers on their side. Without the ability to hire a lawyer on a contingent fee basis, nobody injured by medical malpractice or the negligence of another person or corporation would have a chance: the defendant insurance company would simply drag the case out and make you spend everything you had until you quit.