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How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid?

Statue of Justice and lawyer working on a laptop. How do personal injury lawyers get paid

How do personal injury lawyers get paid? Typically, pay structures depend on whether a lawyer represents the plaintiff, the person who has been injured and is making the claim, or the defendant, the person who is accused of causing the injury. A personal injury lawyer represents the plaintiff and usually works under a contingency fee agreement, which means that the fee is deducted from any personal injury settlement or court award. On the other hand, when a lawyer represents a defendant, he or she typically charges for legal services on an hourly basis.

Statue of Justice and lawyer working on a laptop. How do personal injury lawyers get paid

Types of Personal Injury Cases in Nevada

A personal injury case involves one person experiencing an injury due to the misconduct of another person. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 100 million people seek emergency treatment for injuries every year, and many of these injuries are caused by other people’s misconduct. There are key personal injury facts to understand, leading to various types of personal injury claims that can arise as a result of such incidents.

You can classify most personal injury claims into several common types of personal injury cases. These include:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Every year, a vast number of people sustain injuries or lose their lives due to motor vehicle accidents. If you have suffered an injury in a motor vehicle accident, whether as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, you may be able to receive compensation for your personal injuries and financial loss from an at-fault driver.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is an issue that can result in severe injuries caused by the negligence of doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other medical professionals. There are several types of medical malpractice, such as misdiagnosis, improper treatment, surgical errors, medication mistakes, pharmacy errors, birth injury errors during the delivery of a child, and failure to diagnose serious health conditions.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death refers to a type of legal action that can be taken when a person is killed due to someone else’s negligence. This type of lawsuit typically arises from incidents such as car or truck accidents, nursing home neglect, medical malpractice, construction accidents, airplane accidents, or the use of a dangerous or defective product. A wrongful death lawsuit enables the recovery of damages that are unique and distinct from those available in cases of non-fatal injuries.

Workplace Accidents

When an employee is injured or killed while working for an employer, he or she is generally not allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. Instead, the injured employee must pursue a workers’ compensation claim. This mandates employers to provide various benefits to their injured workers, including medical treatment, temporary total disability, and a lump-sum payment, known as permanent partial disability, to compensate injured workers for their injuries. It is advisable to seek help from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can guide you through the process in Nevada and ensure that your rights are protected.

Premises Liability

Premises liability refers to accidents that happen due to hazardous or defective conditions on someone’s property. This can happen almost anywhere, from commercial establishments to public or private areas. A broad range of defective or dangerous conditions can lead to a premises’ liability claim, including falls, trips, slips, and dog bites. It is crucial to document the condition as soon as possible. A personal injury attorney can help you with this and protect your legal rights throughout the process.

Product Liability

Dangerous and defective products can cause serious injuries at home, work, or in public places. Inadequate warnings and instruction can also lead to injuries. Harmful products include dangerous drugs, food, consumer goods, and children’s products, defective vehicle parts, medical devices, and toxic materials or chemicals. The responsible parties can include individuals, businesses, or government entities who sold, designed, manufactured, or marketed a dangerous or defective product.

What Are Some Ways Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid?

Personal injury lawyers may charge on a contingency fee basis, hourly rate, or based on limited scope representation.

Contingency Fee

Many personal injury lawyers work on contingency. Under contingency, you don’t have to pay anything upfront. Instead, you only pay if your lawyer successfully wins compensation for you. In other words, if you don’t get paid, your attorney doesn’t get paid. As a result, personal injury lawyers can represent your case in an affordable manner.

The contingency fee agreement will specify the percentage of the compensation that will be used as payment. Your attorney will provide legal services in exchange for this percentage of your financial recovery. Some contingency fee agreements have different percentages depending on the total amount of financial recovery in the case.

The agreement will also specify who will pay for the administrative costs related to the case. For instance, you may need to cover travel expenses, filing fees, and document reproduction costs, or your attorney may cover these costs. If your attorney pays for these expenses, you will have to repay them out of the financial recovery.

Hourly Rate

A personal injury lawyer may agree to take on a case by charging an hourly fee, where the attorney charges a set amount for the time spent on the case. Typically, the plaintiff is responsible for paying this fee out of his or her own pocket.

However, a per-hour billing arrangement can be expensive for the plaintiff to bear in this type of agreement between lawyer and client. This is because the cost is fixed and does not depend on whether the personal injury case is successful or not.

A per-hour billing arrangement is often offered when the personal injury lawyer believes that the plaintiff has a weak case and is unlikely to receive a settlement.

Limited Scope Representation

Limited scope representation refers to hiring an attorney to represent you on a specific aspect of your case, for which you pay only for the work done on that aspect. People typically assume they have two options – either hire an attorney for the entire case, or proceed without legal representation. However, in many cases, hiring an attorney for the entire case may not be necessary or financially feasible.

On the other hand, going to court without access to a lawyer can be intimidating. With limited scope representation, you can focus your resources on a particular legal issue or aspect of the litigation. This type of representation may be beneficial if you need legal assistance with a specific issue, but are unable to retain an attorney for the entire case.

  • While representing yourself throughout the case, seek guidance from an attorney regarding the law, procedures, and strategy.
  • Get the necessary paperwork prepared by an attorney, but attend the hearing on your own. Alternatively, you can prepare the paperwork yourself and have an attorney represent you at the hearing.
  • Hire an attorney to defend you or conduct a deposition.
  • Hire an attorney to litigate a specific issue during a court hearing.
  • Benefit from the expertise of an attorney during the settlement negotiations.
  • Hire an attorney to accompany you at a settlement conference, but not at any court hearings.

Factors That Can Impact Personal Injury Lawyer’s Fees

Typically, attorney fees percentage range from 33% to 40% of the total settlement amount. However, these can vary based on the specifics of your case.

Complexity of the Case

The cost of legal representation can be influenced by the complexity and nature of the legal matter. If a case is highly complicated, the compensation that you seek will generally be higher. This may result in a higher settlement amount. Since your attorney charges a percentage of the settlement amount, this results in a higher fee.

Aside from contingency fees, other expenses may be considered during the legal process. In more complex cases, these could include filing fees, initial consultation charges, and costs associated with obtaining medical records, reports, deposition testimony, or police reports. Attorneys usually cover these costs upfront and will take them out of your settlement amount once your case is resolved. Sometimes, attorneys may charge higher fees as trial preparation begins due to the increase in time and expenses associated with preparing for trial.

Time and Resources Invested in the Case

If you’re paying your lawyer by the hour, the more time they need to spend on your case, the higher your costs will be. If your lawyer is charging on contingency, more complex cases require more work and resources, which might lead to higher costs. In case your lawyer has to spend more time and resources than usual on your case, he or she might charge a higher percentage as the contingency fee.

Simple legal matters tend to be resolved more quickly and easily, resulting in less time and resources required, and lower costs. Cases with more complications may need additional time and effort from the lawyer, leading to higher expenses.

The George Bochanis Injury Law Offices was established in 1985. Before opening his office, Mr. Bochanis spent years representing major insurance companies in litigation cases and prior to that was a law clerk to a prominent local district court judge. Our offices have grown from a small one person setting to having its own well known office location on South Ninth Street in Downtown Las Vegas with 15 employees.

Years of Experience: More than 28 years
Nevada Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Nevada State Bar Federal Court of Nevada, 3rd Circuit

Top-Rated Injury Attorneys Fighting for You

Since opening our doors in 1985, the accident lawyers at the George Bochanis Injury Law Offices have been committed to helping injury victims get full compensation after slip and fall accidents, motor vehicle crashes, workplace injuries, and other personal injuries.

We’re here to listen. Schedule your free consultation with an injury lawyer today.