When you suffer major injuries in an accident that was not your fault, the emotional stress and physical pain can make it difficult to pursue legal action. If your financial means are limited, the cost of hiring a DWI lawyer might seem unaffordable. While many DWI lawyers only take cases for a fee, others take cases for a percentage of the settlement or provide some legal services for free. Below is some fee information that you should know when retaining a DWI lawyer from our friends at May Law, LLP.
Lawyer’s normally expect to be paid an hourly rate for their services. Those fees can add up to thousands of dollars, regardless of what happens in the case. Many people obviously cannot invest money in a personal injury lawsuit, even if they have a strong case and really need the money.
Lawyers sometimes provide some services on a pro bono, or volunteer basis. This is done on a limited basis, so it is unlikely any lawyer would manage a complex personal injury case from beginning to end without being paid.
However, another payment option is popular, particularly in personal injury cases of all types. Some lawyers take these cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only collect if they win the case.
Understanding Contingency Fees
In contingency fee cases, the law firm works without charging any legal fees to the client. A contingency fee is a fee paid when the lawyer wins the case. Those funds are taken from the court’s judgment against the responsible party.
Normally, the law firm will subtract legal fees from the judgment and then take a percentage. The law firm’s share of that settlement amount may be 33% to 40%. This sounds like a large share of the settlement, and it is. A lawyer who works for a contingency fee is investing upfront in a case they may lose.
Accepting a contingency fee arrangement with a law firm often makes sense for two reasons. Without legal counsel, many individuals end up accepting token settlements to cover their medical bills. A DWI lawyer in Fairfax VA can often get more money for a client even after subtracting their fee and their expenses.
After a serious injury, a person is offered a token settlement of $10,000 from an insurance company. A DWI lawyer in Fairfax VA working on contingency wins a judgment of $100,000 in court, subtracting $3,000 for legal expenses and $30,000 of the remaining funds. The injured person gets $67,000 instead of $10,000.