Understanding the percentage of contingency fee agreements most Houston personal injury lawyers take can be daunting. This is especially true for individuals new to personal injury law. The percentage that most personal injury lawyers take is typically referred to as a contingency fee.
A contingency fee is a fee that a lawyer charges only if they win a case for their client. This article covers the percentage most Houston personal injury lawyers take and provides a comprehensive guide.
What is a Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee is a fee that a lawyer charges only if they win a case for their client. In most personal injury cases in Texas, the lawyer will take a percentage of the settlement amount or the jury verdict.
This percentage can vary from case to case but starts at 33.3% and can go up to 45% and more depending on the court award and specified factors.
What Percentage Do Lawyers Take?
Personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingency fee basis. The contingency fee agreement should be in writing, and the percentage should be set forth. In Houston, the fee varies by personal injury law firm, but most contingency fees are between 33% and 45% of the settlement or court award.
A personal injury case can vary in complexity and out-of-pocket expenses to the personal injury attorneys. The contingency fee percentage may increase in complex or expensive cases, like cases with multiple parties or product liability cases.
How is the Percentage of the Contingency Fees Determined?
Several factors determine the percentage that most personal injury lawyers take. These factors can include the case’s complexity, the amount of time the lawyer will need to spend on the case, and the likelihood of success. The more complex a case is, the more time a lawyer will need to spend on it. The higher the likelihood of success, the higher the percentage the lawyer will take.
Many personal injury law firms in Houston charge one-third if the case is settled before a lawsuit is filed and raise the percentage if the settlement or court award comes after a lawsuit is filed.
The reasoning behind the increase is the substantial increase in work required once a lawsuit is filed. Depositions, written discovery, and retention of experts all require a lot of attorney time and increase the out-of-pocket costs to the firm.
Factors that Influence the Percentage
Several factors can influence the percentage that a personal injury lawyer will take. These factors can include the case’s location, the lawyer’s experience, and the size of the final settlement or jury verdict. The more experienced the attorney, the more likely they may charge a higher percentage of the final settlement.
Factors like the type of case can also influence the percentage a personal injury attorney may charge. Cases that require more money to be spent to get to court may cause the attorney to charge a higher fee structure. An example in Texas would be a product liability claim, as the costs to advance the case can run from tens to hundreds of thousands.
Most firms charge a higher fee for extra time-intensive cases because of the risks in product cases, the substantial costs to the lawyer, and the time required to win the case. In Texas, a starting fee of 40 to 45% is standard for a product liability case, with increases if a lawsuit gets filed. Conversely, a simple car accident case may start at a 1/3 fee.
What Percentage Do Most Texas Personal Injury Lawyers Take?
As mentioned earlier, most personal injury lawyers in Houston typically start around 33.3% of the personal injury cases if the case settles without a lawsuit being filed. The percentage increases when a lawsuit is filed or a trial takes place. This percentage can vary depending on the abovementioned factors, but 33.3% is a good rule of thumb. At the same time, some Houston personal injury lawyers start at 40 to 45% of the total recovery.
Why do Lawyers Charge a Contingency Fee Basis?
Lawyers charge a contingency fee on a personal injury claim for several reasons:
- It allows individuals who do not have the money to pay legal fees upfront to receive quality legal representation.
- It motivates lawyers to work hard to win a case for their clients since their legal fees depend on their success.
- It helps to align the interests of the lawyer and the client since the lawyer will only receive contingency fees if the client is successful in their personal injury case.
Questions Prospective Personal Injury Clients Should Ask:
- How much is your percentage for your contingency fee?
Learning the firm’s fee structure up front will avoid surprises later. As mentioned above, many lawyers charge above the normal range as a starting fee, and it is vital you understand their contingency fee structure.
- Is the contingency fee based on gross recovery or net after expenses?
- What legal expenses can I anticipate?
The best Houston injury attorneys base their contingency fee on the gross recovery before reimbursing expenses or other deductions.
Suggestions to Prospective Injury Victims
Always do your homework in selecting the right personal injury attorney for your case.
Type of Case and Location of Accident
One of the most important considerations is the attorney’s experience with your case type. Another important consideration is the location of the accident that caused the personal injury claim to be made.
Generally, lawsuits get filed in the county where the accident occurred or where the defendant resides.
Getting a local attorney experienced in your case should be high on your list. Avoid not researching your chosen attorney, as changing lawyers working on a contingent fee basis is not as simple as many think.
Focus on the Best Personal Injury Lawyer, Not the Percentage
Finally, do not worry so much about the percentage that the attorney charges in the fee agreement but rather focus on the quality of the local attorney as your first consideration. The better your attorney, the more likely your settlement will be acceptable.
Always consider the expertise of the attorney in your kind of case. A lawyer with substantial litigation experience can get an average truck accident settlement way above less experienced law firms.
Contingency Fees Vary for Personal Injury Cases
The starting percentage that most personal injury lawyers take in Texas is typically around 33.3% to 45%, with increases based on the need for litigation. This percentage can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of winning a personal injury award, the time the lawyer will need to spend on the case, the likelihood of success, anticipated expenses, and the attorney’s expertise.
It is important to remember that some lawyers may charge a higher percentage. Ultimately, a contingency fee allows individuals who may not be able to pay a lawyer hourly or upfront to receive quality legal representation by getting the best personal injury lawyer near me.