How much you pay the attorney depends on the circumstances of your case, the value of your case, and the attorney you hire.
If You Win Your Case
A personal injury lawyer in Minnesota typically gets paid on a contingency fee basis. They only apply a fee if you win your case.
A contingency fee is designed to keep you from paying out-of-pocket fees upfront. The fee percentage usually ranges between 30 and 40 percent. The percentage can be less or more depending on when a settlement is reached or whether a settlement is never reached but an award is won at trial.
Not all law firms work on a contingency fee basis!
If You Don't Win Your Case
Contingency fees are typically used in cases that have clear liability. However, if you don't win your case, then you do not owe any attorney's fees and can offer peace of mind if you don't have the funding upfront to start the case.
What Does 'Winning a Case' Mean in a Personal Injury Claim?
Legal cases are not straightforward, and they always come with complications, so for one to be deemed winnable, there are a few prerequisites:
It could be established that someone else is liable for the accident.
You have proof that your injuries have led to severe emotional, physical, or financial harm.
There's proof that the accident is what caused your injuries.
Your compensation value will exceed the legal expenses.
Your legal team will use photos and video, eyewitnesses, police reports, and communication like emails and text messages with the liable individuals that can prove they hold responsibility.
Winning also usually means one of two things: negotiating a settlement or filing a lawsuit in court.
1. Negotiating a Settlement
You negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party. Their insurance company may be liable for your medical expenses, lost wages, or non-economic damages such as extensive pain and suffering, loss of consortium, or emotional distress.
If the at-fault party is uninsured or underinsured, you may file a claim against the liable party.
2. Filing a Lawsuit in Court
If the liable party does not admit fault or the insurance company denies your claim, you may file a lawsuit against the liable parties and pursue your case in court.
You may also file a lawsuit if you are unsatisfied with the insurance company's settlement offer.
In either case, a lawyer who applies a contingency-based fee only gets paid when you win your case.
Personal Injury Expenses While Pursuing a Case
Although a lawyer does not charge fees when losing a case, they almost always charge for expenses incurred while pursuing a case. The expenses vary depending on your case.
Examples of expenses a personal injury attorney may charge you for include:
Serving the parties
Court reporter fees
Expert witness fees
Investigator fees and expenses
Fees in the Attorney-Client Agreement
Before your lawyer represents you in a personal injury case, you will enter into a written agreement. Among other items, the agreement will include charges that you can expect for services rendered.
Some fees outlined in the agreement may include the following.
The attorney may charge you a fixed amount for a particular personal injury case. An attorney who takes on the same type of case multiple times may assign a fixed fee to your case if it is similar.
This type of fee arrangement is often used in personal injury cases. The contingency fee also includes the percentage that the attorney receives if you win your case.
The agreement also includes costs and fees associated with your case. Your representation agreement should specify the purpose of the fee.
Changing Personal Injury Lawyers During Litigation
Having a personal injury lawyer can make all the difference, and working with a professional who has extensive knowledge can help you avoid issues like:
Agreeing to the wrong settlement amount
Settling too early
Not having the correct information
The liable party is not being held fully responsible
Dealing with loopholes that may decrease your settlement
If you decide to change lawyers during a case or drop your lawsuit, your original lawyer may charge you for the time they put into the case and any expenses for pursuing it.
If you are current with any payments you owe to your lawyer, switching lawyers may not be an issue. You will need to finalize what you owe the lawyer according to your attorney-client agreement.
You may be unable to switch lawyers in a lawsuit depending on how far along the case is. A judge may overturn your decision if the court case is too far along in the litigation process.
Before switching to a new lawyer, ensure you understand the legal process and the attorney-client agreement.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer Who Cares
If you or a loved one were recently injured in an accident, you might want to explore your legal options and file a case against the at-fault party. JD Haas & Associates, PLLC offers legal assistance for victims of personal injury accidents in Minnesota and 11 other states.
If you need answers, call us at (952) 234-2925 to schedule a free case review.