How do Personal Injury Attorneys get compensated for Their Services
Personal injury lawyers in Ohio typically require no fees up front. Rather, they work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that they do not take any fees or costs unless and until they receive monetary compensation on the claim lodged on behalf of the client. The client, upon retaining counsel, usually signs a release form that lays out the percentage the attorney will take from any settlement in the case, usually one-third of the amount recovered.
But why do attorneys do this instead of requiring payment up front as in other types of cases? There are several reasons:
A client who retains an attorney for a personal injury case will be more trusting of that attorney if the client is not required to pay a fee up front. If the client knows that the amount of the attorney’s fee is directly related to the amount the attorney recovers for the client, the client is not likely to worry that the attorney is not doing his or her job. A client will think of the attorney as a legitimate professional and not as a money-hungry swindler.
The client will also be confident in the likelihood of success in the case, since most attorneys will not risk losing money on a case they don’t think they can win. Attorneys handling personal injury cases often have to advance costs for things like medical records and filing fees. These can add up and, if there is no ultimate settlement or reward from trial, those costs present a loss to the attorney who would otherwise recover those costs from the settlement or reward.
The attorney who works on a contingency fee basis is more likely to do everything possible to get the most recovery for the client, since it directly affects the attorney’s own monetary gain. The more the attorney recovers for the client, the more the attorney recovers for him or herself. It keeps the attorney honest, and it maintains quality of the work performed. When at attorney charges fees up front, he or she may not be as motivated to work as hard and do everything possible for the client. When the attorney’s own paycheck is on the line, he or she is more likely to go above and beyond what it required.
Avoids Hardship on Client
Finally, requiring a free up front in a personal injury case can seem like an affront to a client who may just have suffered devastating injuries. The client may already be hurt financially due to mounting medical bills and possible loss of income if the injuries are preventing the client from being able to work. To then charge a client a fee up front would be like adding insult to injury. It would be like blaming the client for their misfortune. The entire goal of a personal injury case is to reward the client, not to inflict further financial punishment on them.