Injury law attorneys, in the majority of cases, do not charge clients by the hour. Nor do they charge victims a flat fee for services.
Instead, most injury law attorneys charge a contingent legal fee. That is how I operate my practice. Essentially, a contingent fee arrangement means that we only receive a percentage of whatever compensation our client recovers.
How Injury Law Attorneys Set Fees
Accordingly, we generally only accept cases where the client has a reasonable chance to recover compensation. This approach benefits our client. He or she does not have to pay any legal fees until and unless the case concludes favorably. Even then, the legal fee only comes out of the award to the client.
In New Jersey, the rules of court fix the maximum percentages that an attorney can charge as a contingent fee. In most cases, that contingent fee will be one-third of the amount that the client receives. (Practically speaking, for reasons having to do with how the fee is calculated, the percentage that the lawyer receives will actually be a little less than one-third of the client’s recovery.) Moreover, on very large recoveries, the fee may be capped at a smaller percentage than one-third.
In addition to a contingent fee arrangement, a potential personal injury client should expect to receive a free case evaluation at the outset of the case. In some law offices, a paralegal or a junior lawyer gives the evaluation.
However, in my practice, I always try to provide an initial free case evaluation myself personally to the potential client. I think that a person who suffers an injury at least has the right to meet with the most senior attorney who will be representing them. A paralegal or inexperienced junior lawyer may not have the knowledge to properly evaluate a difficult case.
Indeed, I try to give each of my clients my personal attention at every stage of a case. I encourage them to contact me personally if they ever have any questions or concerns. Unfortunately, from what I hear from victims who initially chose representation from a different law office, not all injury law attorneys give their clients such individualized attention.