Q & A: HOW CAN I HIRE A LAWYER FOR MY PERSONAL INJURY CASE IF I DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY UP FRONT?
The short answer is -- the CONTINGENCY FEE. A contingency fee means that the lawyer is paid a percentage of the total recovery from the proceeds of the case at the end. The lawyer is not paid up front. In those instances where the case is unsuccessful and there is no recovery, the lawyer does not collect any fee. Consequently, most competent lawyers do not want to take a case with a low probability of success, because that would mean a low probability of actually getting paid for their time and effort. The particular percentage that lawyers charge depend upon many factors including the type of case, level of difficulty, the locale and the depend upon a particular attorneys rates, but the average percentage rate is 33 1/3%.
Contingency fees are beneficial to many personal injury clients. Sadly, without the contingency fees, most people in Arizona would be unable to afford to hire an attorney. The average hourly rate for an experienced lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona is between $250 to $450 per hour, and most of those attorneys require an up front retainer of several thousand dollars depending upon the case and the creditworthiness of the client. Typically, only corporations and wealthy people can afford this up front payment for representation. The vast majority of injured people are totally unable to pay up front and by the hour for legal representation. Even those who are able, usually prefer the contingency fee because they were recently in an accident and may have experienced property loss, wage loss and medical bills .
I often have people calling asking if they need to pay me up front. The answer is -- NO. I only get paid only when the client wins. I handle personal injury cases for people with no money paid up front. I get paid a percentage of the money that we collect for the client after the case is resolved. Because of this, I can be a bit picky about which cases I choose to take. However, once I undertake to help someone, I do my very best to get a great result for the client.
Jay Ciulla is a Phoenix, Arizona personal injury and wrongful death lawyer. He frequently represents clients in car accident, motorcycle crashes, pedestrian collisions and dog bite cases. Call (602) 495-0053 for a free initial consultation.