How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge?
What Will My Personal Injury Case Cost Me?
The fees charged by personal injury lawyers are fairly standard in the state of New Jersey. Court rules established by statutory law require that an attorney may charge no more than 33.33% of the net result, on a “contingent” basis, in any personal injury matter.
Allow me to explain what these terms mean.
“Contingency” means that in order for event B to occur, event A has to occur first. In this case, event B is the firm getting paid a fee and that means that event A is that we have to win your case. We don’t necessarily have to win it in front of a jury, because most cases (in excess of 95 percent of them) settle before a jury deliberates.
That having been said, however, some cases do go to trial and it’s always best to have a trial lawyer who loves, and who is experienced with, the trial process, as opposed to a lawyer who very rarely ventures into court and is not quite certain on his or her feet.
Who Gets Paid When My Case Is Resolved?
If we successfully resolve the matter by settlement or verdict, the first step is to deduct any “cash” that the firm has paid to advance your matter. These “costs” usually start with the filing fee of your complaint required by the Court, the money we pay to the service provider to serve the complaint on the defendant, fees paid to court reporters to generate deposition transcripts, filing fees for motions to the court house, mileage fees, copying, faxes, expert fees, overnight delivery fees, etc. In other words, any instance that the firm “spends money” on your case (as opposed to spending its most powerful and valuable asset, its time), we keep a “ledger” for every matter.
When the case is over, the total cash outlay is first deducted from the gross settlement or verdict. Once the firm has been “made whole” for its “parts” (its case outlays), it is now time to compensate the firm for its “labor” (the time that has been spent).
In a personal injury matter, 33.33 percent is then deducted from the net settlement (the gross settlement minus costs); that represents the firm’s fee. This is so no matter how much time the firm has put into your case, and whether or not the firm has “lost money” or “made money” on the value of its hourly time. That means that if the firm spends $100,000 of time in a case that resolves for $60,000 and therefore the firm’s fee is only $20,000, then that’s the way it is. The firm has lost four-fifths of its investment in time, though we’re still glad that we were able to resolve the matter well for you.
Likewise, if the firm manages to settle a case for $300,000 after putting in only $10,000 worth of time, then the firm’s fee is $100,000, and congratulations to you and congratulations to the firm, for the firm has exceeded the hourly value of its time.
Because the firm takes risks in every case, this all evens out over the long haul.
The most important piece of all of this is to understand that the firm is making an investment in you, and it’s taking all the risk. You’ll never have to pay the firm any money if we lose the case.
The First Consultation Is Free. Contact Costello & Mains Today.
Our New Jersey law firm offers a free consultation for anyone with questions about pursuing a personal injury claim. Call our office today or contact our firm online to schedule an appointment with an attorney.