How Does a Personal Injury Attorney Get Paid?

When somebody has been injured in an accident, they may discover that there are medical bills and other damages that will accumulate financial debt. For instance, a victim may have to miss time at work which can have a huge impact on their income and ability to earn money. They might have many other medical bills including those for hospital stays and surgeries. Because of this, many victims will ask the question, “Can I actually afford a personal injury attorney to handle my claim?”

The truthful answer to this is that there are many ways that a victim can afford an attorney even if they do not have upfront cash. A personal injury attorney reaches payment from a victim in many ways and depends on how they are representing the plaintiff. By understanding the types of arrangements that exist, you can come to a conclusion about how you are going to move forward with your claim.

Understanding the Contingency Fee Agreement 

The vast majority of plaintiffs receive payment under a plan known as the ‘contingency fee agreement.’ Under this plan, an attorney actually does not get paid until they are able to receive a recovery for damages for the plaintiff. Contingency fees are usually straightforward; however, there are some variations to these plans:

Mixed Hourly: The attorney will receive an hourly rate for the work that they complete but they will also receive a ‘bonus’ when they achieve damages for the victim. This is usually a small percentage that comes out of the compensation that a victim receives.

Sliding Scale: This is a sliding scale plan where the percentage goes up as the litigation moves forward. For instance, if an attorney is able to achieve justice before the court, they might receive 25% of the payout. However, if it goes to court and a bigger award is received, the attorney’s fees might be 40% of the judgment.

Hourly: The amount of money that an attorney receives from this plan depends on the amount of time that the attorney puts into the case. Typically, this type of contingency plan is not used because of the major resources utilized in personal injury claims.

Duty to Defend on Behalf of the Insurance Company 

The insurance company has what is known as a ‘duty to defend’ when it comes to their client. This means that, if a policyholder is involved in an accident and a lawsuit stems from it, the insurance company must keep their promise to defend the plaintiff against a defendant who caused them harm. The insurance company, through this policy, must also take care of any attorney’s fees so that the plaintiff can move forward with a case as they work to recover money that can then be used to repay the insurance company.

How an Attorney Can Help After a Car Accident 

The thought of needing an attorney after your accident can be a daunting event that will leave you with several questions. Luckily, with the help of a car accident attorney in Florida, you will ensure that your rights are being protected as you navigate the legal system and work toward results. These claims can be entirely complex, which is why you should never be expected to stand alone. Please contact our accident attorneys at Sheftall & Associates at (904) 638-7712 for the help you deserve during this time.


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