South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney Fees
When you or a loved one has been injured through no fault of your own, you have a right to hold the responsible party accountable for their negligence. Having a personal injury attorney to represent you during this time can give you the best possible chance of securing maximum compensation. But when you are recovering from serious injuries, you may also be facing financial pressure due to mounting medical bills and lost wages. How can you possibly afford an attorney?
Fortunately, the personal injury attorneys at the Wilson Law Group, LLC offer high-quality legal services on a contingency fee basis. Under a contingency fee arrangement, an injured client pays no upfront costs for a lawyer to get started on his or her claim. The attorney only gets paid if he or she secures compensation at the end of the case.
Not all fee arrangements are created equal, however. Before working with a particular law firm, be sure that you fully understand how its personal injury attorneys charge clients so that you choose the one that’s right for you.
How Is a Lawyer Paid in a Personal Injury Case?
Most personal injury lawyers take cases on a contingency fee basis. Under a contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer’s fees are deducted from the award at the end of the case. The lawyer typically collects a percentage of the ultimate recovery. But if the case doesn’t win, the client does not have to pay the attorney for any work done on the case.
Personal injury lawyers typically cover all the costs of the case, such as obtaining copies of the client’s medical records, hiring expert witnesses, and paying the court filing fees for the lawsuit. However, some personal injury lawyers and firms do require clients to cover some of these costs upfront. In addition, some attorneys require clients to reimburse some or all the costs of the case in the event the client does not recover compensation. That’s why a client should carefully read and make sure they understand their fee arrangement with their personal injury attorney before representation begins. Knowing your financial obligations may be the deciding factor that prompts you to hire one lawyer over another.
Understanding How Much a Personal Injury Lawyer Costs
Although the basics of contingency fee arrangements are similar for most personal injury attorneys, each lawyer may have certain details for his or her own contingency fee arrangements. In addition, details of a personal injury lawyer’s fee arrangement may change depending on the circumstances of a client’s case. Here are some commonly asked questions about legal fees:
What is the standard contingency fee for an attorney?
In most personal injury cases, an attorney will charge a standard contingency fee ranging from 25 percent to 33 and 1/3 percent of the total recovery, depending on the particular lawyer. Many personal injury attorneys have fee agreements that increase the contingency fee percentage under certain circumstances, usually if your case goes to trial. In those circumstances, the contingency fee can be as high as 40 percent of your total recovery. These percentages are deducted from the balance of your recovery after the expenses of your lawsuit have been deducted.
Do personal injury attorneys ever charge hourly fees?
Some personal injury attorneys and firms work on an hourly fee basis or are willing to bill hourly if requested by the client. However, if your personal injury case is handled on an hourly fee basis, you may have to pay a retainer of several thousand dollars upfront.
The lawyer will then deduct the fees for the hours they work from this retainer. If the balance of your retainer gets low, the lawyer may ask you to add more. The retainer provides the attorney with the security of knowing that there are funds available to pay their hourly fees. At the end of your case, if your attorney still has a balance in your retainer, they will refund it to you.
What factors cause costs and lawyer’s fees to vary?
Certain circumstances of a case can cause the attorney to alter the details of their standard fee arrangement. The contingency fee percentage your lawyer earns can increase if your case goes to trial. The lawyer may also increase the contingency percentages if the attorney believes you have a weaker legal case, or if the attorney believes that he or she will need to put in substantial work to get you a smaller-than-average financial recovery.
At the Wilson Law Group, LLC, you can count on our lawyers to provide an honest assessment of your claim. We only take cases that we believe have a strong chance of success. However, it’s important to remember that no attorney can guarantee you a favorable outcome in a particular case. If one makes you that promise, it’s time to find a different lawyer.
Why do some personal injury claims make attorneys charge higher fees?
Certain factors of a personal injury case may make an attorney charge a higher contingency fee percentage or even offer an hourly fee arrangement.
- The strength of the client’s case: If an attorney believes that a client has a weaker legal case, the attorney may charge a higher contingency fee to account for the attorney’s increased risk that the client may not receive any compensation.
- The amount of work needed to obtain a favorable outcome: If the attorney will need to put in extra work and cover more costs (especially if case expenses are rolled into the attorney’s fee) to secure a financial recovery for the client, the lawyer may adjust their fees upward to ensure they are compensated for their extra time and costs.
- The amount of damages that can be recovered: If the attorney believes the client will only receive a less-than-average financial recovery in their case, the attorney may adjust their fees upward to ensure they are fairly compensated for their time and expenses.
What are the advantages of a contingency fee arrangement?
Contingency fee arrangements provide critical benefits to injured clients. First, the client is usually not required to put money upfront, which can be important if the client is too injured to work and doesn’t have the money to pay an attorney. At Wilson Law Group, LLC, we want every injured person to have access to legal services, regardless of their ability to pay.
Contingency fee arrangements also benefit clients because the risk of an unfavorable outcome is placed on the lawyer. If the client doesn’t get compensation, he or she owes no fees. And without the need to track hours for billing, the attorney can put all the effort and work needed into a client’s case without worrying about running up a massive bill that a client can’t fully pay.
What should I look for in a fee agreement?
When reviewing your personal injury attorney’s proposed fee agreement, items you should look out for and ask about include:
- The contingency fee percentage: What percentage of your recovery will your attorney be entitled to? Will the percentage increase under certain circumstances (such as if your case goes to trial)? When will the percentage be calculated — after case expenses are deducted, or after medical liens are deducted?
- Case expenses: Will the attorney front the case expenses? Are there expenses you will be expected to pay for prior to the end of your case? Will expenses be deducted from your compensation, or are they part of the attorney’s legal fee?
- Terminating representation: What happens if you end the attorney’s representation mid-case? Will you be required to pay the attorney for his or her services and the costs that have been have fronted? Will the attorney be entitled to payment from any compensation you ultimately recover?
- Unsuccessful outcome: What happens if you don’t recover any compensation in your case? Are you required to pay the attorney any fees or reimburse your attorney for any expenses?
How Wilson Law Group Can Help You
After you’ve been injured in an accident due to another’s negligence, the personal injury attorneys at Wilson Law Group, LLC, can help you secure the financial compensation you need and deserve for your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. We offer free consultations to all prospective clients so you can learn your legal rights and how our firm can help you in your case.
Our legal team understands that you need a swift resolution to your personal injury claim. We fight hard for a full and fair outcome that takes your current and future needs into account. While that usually comes through a settlement with an insurance company, there may be times when a case needs to go to trial for the best possible outcome. Rest assured that our South Carolina personal injury lawyers will stand by you every step of the way.
We have the talent, time and resources needed to prepare a strong claim that stands up to challenges from insurance companies and defense attorneys. We never rush through cases or settle and move on. We’ll put in the work and fight for a full and fair financial recovery.
There’s no risk and no upfront fees for us to get started on your case. If you or a loved one have been hurt due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, call or contact the Wilson Law Group, LLC for a free consultation today.