It’s hard to watch television without seeing advertisements from Atlanta personal injury lawyers. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. With so many dangerous drugs and products out there, people need to know where to turn if they need a lawyer. What people also need to understand is that they can meet with a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta for free.
Almost all personal injury lawyers offer their clients a free initial consultation. This gives you a chance to sit down and ask them any questions you may have. It also gives your lawyer a chance to determine if they want to handle your case. Just because you were injured, that doesn’t mean you have a legal claim for damages. The consultation also gives both you and your potential attorney a chance to feel each other out. Make sure your personalities don’t clash. If you don’t get along with your lawyer, it may be hard for you to work with them for months or years. And, this is how long it’ll take for your Atlanta personal injury lawsuit to be resolved.
So, if the consultation is free, you may be wondering how your injury attorney gets paid? Well, it is quite simple. Your Atlanta personal injury lawyers work on what is called a contingency basis. This means a few things. First, it means that, if you get nothing, your attorney gets nothing. Second, your attorney will get a certain percentage of your settlement or jury award. This percentage depends on your contract with your attorney. Here, we’ll talk a bit about how this percentage is determined. We’ll also talk about who gets paid first – you or your lawyer.
Personal Injury Lawyers in Atlanta Rely on a Contingency Agreement
After you attend your initial consultation, you’ll need to make a decision. You’ll have to decide if you want to retain your attorney. They’ll also need to decide if they want to represent you. If you agree to do so, you’re going to be asked to sign a retainer agreement. This agreement will outline the following things:
- What duties your attorney owes to you throughout the course of your lawsuit
- What obligations you owe to your attorney
- How your legal fees will be paid
- What you will be responsible for as far as costs are concerned
- How your attorney will be paid
- Whether the contingency percentage changes if your case goes to trial
Almost all Atlanta personal injury lawyers use a boilerplate agreement. This just means they have a basic agreement that they have all their clients sign. You won’t really be able to ask for certain promises in your agreement. And, your attorney won’t require certain things from you that they wouldn’t require from all their clients.
What Percentage Do You Have to Pay Your Atlanta Injury Lawyers?
Most Atlanta personal injury lawyers charge anywhere from 30% to 40%. This means that they’ll take 30-40% of your settlement proceeds. The average is about 33%. Just keep in mind, if your case goes to trial, this percentage will typically go up to 40%. This is because your attorney will need to dedicate extra time and resources to your case if it doesn’t settle before trial. They won’t be able to work on other cases so they will have to commit additional hours to your case. This means they will expect to receive a greater percentage of your award.
Who Gets Paid First When You Settle Your Atlanta Personal Injury Case?
Almost all settlements are handled the same way. There are some cases in which the settlement agreement submitted to the court specifies how much money is to go to certain people. For example, there may be a certain amount allotted to cover medical expenses. For our purposes, we are going to look at a settlement that does not specify any such thing.
The first thing that comes out of your settlement proceeds is your attorney’s fee. So, if you settle for $100,000 and your fee is 30%, $30,000 automatically goes to your lawyer. The next thing you need to pay are legal costs. This includes things like the costs for depositions and medical records. Let’s say that, in our example, this totals $5,000. You will be left with $65,000. The next thing that must be paid are liens and medical bills. Let’s say these total up to $35,000. This means that another $35,000 comes off the top. So, now you’re left with $30,000.
Whatever is left after all outstanding costs and medical expenses are paid goes to you.
If you have any questions about filing a lawsuit in Atlanta, Ted Greve & Associates right away.