Personal injury lawyers often work using a contingency fee agreement. Find out what this means and what percentage personal injury lawyers in Cambridge, MA usually take.
Personal injuries refer to wounds sustained in accidents caused by negligence. These injuries could be caused by dangerous occurrences such as auto accidents, workplace accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, medical malpractice, boating accidents, etc. A defective product could also cause physical injuries.
The types of injuries that could be sustained include spinal cord injuries, broken bones, brain trauma, etc. Fortunately, personal injury victims can receive compensation from the at-fault party. Yet, many people never receive these compensations either because they’re unaware or can’t hire a personal injury attorney.
Therefore, our personal injury attorneys have written this article as a guide to help personal injury victims understand their options. In it, we examine how accident attorneys get paid, the implications of the contingency fee arrangement, and what percentage lawyers charge for their services.
If you’ve been injured due to another person’s failure to maintain the standard of care, we advise that you speak with an accident lawyer. Our personal injury lawyers in Cambridge, MA at Kelly & Associates will help you learn whether you have a personal injury claim.
Why You Need A Personal Injury Lawyer
Injured people are often eligible to file a compensation claim for their injuries but they often have to contend with insurance adjusters. Also, insurance companies often have experienced lawyers whose jobs are to ensure that they pay very little to victims.
Therefore, it is important that accident victims have experienced lawyers as well. Experienced personal injury lawyers will help you get maximum compensation and help you file your personal injury lawsuit.
Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Damages in accident injury cases are intended to replace losses caused by the accident and usually fall into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages would usually cover things like medical care and lost wages. Non-economic damages on the other hand will often cover things like emotional distress and mental anguish.
However, before this would be gotten, you must prove that the negligent party had a duty of care that they neglected. This means that they had a responsibility to ensure your safety. For example, a property owner has neglected his duty of care if someone falls on his premises due to a wet floor.
How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid?
Not everyone can afford to hire an experienced and dedicated lawyer so it’s normal to wonder how you’ll pay one if you think you have a potential accident claim. Compensation is often a major issue but lawyers have different ways they charge for their fees.
Depending on the work they’re doing, lawyers could choose to use an hourly fee, a flat fee, or a contingency fee. An hourly fee is just as the name implies. A lawyer is paid for the hours spent working on a client’s case.
A flat fee refers to a one-time payment made by a client for a service that a lawyer renders. Usually, lawyers charge a flat fee for one-off jobs like drafting a will or contract.
The third method, which is the contingency fee, is favored by most personal injury lawyers. Under the contingency fee arrangement, a lawyer is paid a percentage of the client’s winnings but does not get paid if the client does not recover any money.
Understandably, criminal defense lawyers and divorce lawyers do not use the contingency fee arrangement as it could be misinterpreted as encouragement of criminal activities or divorce.
It’s important to note that while contingency fees are frequently used for personal injury cases, they may not cover some costs that come with a case. This includes filing fees, discovery costs, and cost for expert witnesses.
Implications of the Contingency Fee Arrangement
Compared to the other two options, it’s easy to see why the contingency fee arrangement is favored by personal injury lawyers in Cambridge, MA. One-off fees can’t work because personal injury cases often last months.
On the other hand, hourly rates could be prohibitive for all but wealthy individuals in society. People with little or no money will be unable to receive compensation for their injuries.
Using a contingency fee ensures that the interests of the lawyer and client are closely aligned. If the client does not win any compensation, then the lawyer gets nothing. That motivates lawyers to do their best for their clients.
Contingency fee agreements could also motivate lawyers to speed up processes. If they had to work on an hourly basis, they could drag out the time needed to settle a case, increasing a client’s legal fees in the process.
While it appears that contingency fees are all good, that is not always the case. For example, lawyers may be forced to take only cases where there is a good chance of success. Unfortunately, not all personal injury cases fall into this category which means that lawyers could reject such cases.
Where that happens, accident victims may have to pay upfront to have any chance of getting compensation. In such a case, only those who can afford it will get the justice and compensation they deserve. On the flip side, lawyers will only take on cases that they believe in.
Another disadvantage of the contingency fee arrangement is that it could turn out to be more expensive than paying hourly if the case is wrapped up quickly. This is because clients will have to pay the contingency fee that was agreed on regardless of how long the case lasts.
What Percentage Do Personal Injury Lawyers in Cambridge, MA Typically Charge?
Although personal injury lawyers work using a contingency fee, their fees are often set at a reasonable percentage. While some states allow for as much as 40% of the compensation won, most personal injury fees in Cambridge, Massachusetts are set at 25%. Some lawyers may charge more or less than this.
In addition, the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct set out rules to ensure that contingency fees are reasonable. Some of the factors used to determine reasonable compensation for lawyers include:
- The time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly;
- The likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer;
- The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services;
- The amount involved and the results obtained;
- The time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances;
- The nature and length of the professional relationship with the client;
- The experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services; and
- Whether the fee is fixed or contingent.
Lawyers are also expected to inform clients of the terms of the arrangement in writing. This ensures that clients are always aware of what they’re getting into.
Let’s Help You Get Compensation for Your Personal Injuries
If you’ve been injured due to another person’s negligence, you may be eligible to receive a fair settlement. With most personal injury lawyers working on a contingency basis, getting compensation is easier. Our experienced team possesses vast legal knowledge that we employ while representing clients.
The legal team at our Boston personal injury law firm is available to represent you on a wide range of personal injury cases. We’ll handle everything from conducting investigations to identifying eyewitnesses, expert witnesses, and filing personal injury lawsuits. Our track record speaks for itself; so contact Kelly & Associates today.