How Personal Injury Lawyers Are Paid

Posted on January 24th, 2017
By Steven Gursten

The Centers for Disease Control state that 31 million people are hurt each year and require medical care. Of those, about 2 million individuals need hospitalization and unfortunately, 162,000 people die. Some of these deaths are the result of negligence.

There is no reason not to speak with a personal injury attorney about your losses, accident, or injury; in fact, we at Taos offer a free consultation. Plus, in most situations, if you fail to win your case or obtain a settlement, you will not have to pay any attorney’s fees. That’s important because many people don’t realize they have the ability to hire an experienced personal injury attorney even if they do not have funds to pay that attorney out-of-pocket right now.

If you’ve been hurt in an auto accident, for example, you may be facing thousands of dollars in medical bills. You may have long-term rehabilitation needs. You’ve been unable to work. You’re now behind on your mortgage and struggling to get in to see the doctor. How could you afford to pay an attorney? In most situations, you don’t have to. And, that’s the good news you need to hear if you are struggling, through no fault of your own.

So, How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid?

Most personal injury attorneys are paid on a contingency fee basis. This means the lawyer’s fee is paid at the time of the settlement or award of funds to you. This is generally a fee of what you were awarded. If there’s no recovery – meaning you don’t get a settlement or verdict– then there’s no lawyer fee for you to pay. A qualified attorney will discuss that percentage with you as soon as you come in for a consultation.

During that consultation, you’ll likely learn:

  • If you have a case based on the information and evidence provided to the attorney
  • How much the attorney will charge for his or her services
  • What your first step is
  • What you should do to move forward in filing a claim or lawsuit

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney Simply Makes Sense

As the American Bar Association points out, when you file a lawsuit for personal injury matters, both sides go to work to prepare for the process. The company you’re suing (including the insurer of an individual) is going to work hard to minimize their exposure to risk and reduce any claims you’ve made. Without a qualified attorney by your side, you could lose out on key compensation.

When hiring an attorney, consider these skills and qualifications:

  • A licensed attorney with experience in your state and handling the type of injury you suffered
  • The commitment to help with evidence development and research (including hiring expert witnesses, if necessary)
  • The amount of time he or she can dedicate to your case
  • The attorney’s belief in your case
  • Experience as a successful civil litigation attorney, but also someone you trust and respect


If you have a viable case then you may wish to make a claim. If you do not have a viable case then you have the peace of mind that you have done your due diligence to make certain all aspects have you case have been evaluated. One of the best services performed by a lawyer is delivering an unfavorable but frank evaluation that a particular case does not have a realistic chance of success. Stress created by uncertainty is very real. Nobody wants to hear the news it would be impractical to move forward with their case, but that news can relieve the stress caused by uncertainty. Closure on such issues is important.

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