Why Most Personal Injury Cases Cost You Nothing Unless You Win
A personal injury lawyer will generally take a case involving physical sufferingas the result of negligence, malice, or professional malpractice without charging a fee, but taking only a percentage of the settlement. Some attorneys will even offer a free consultation while others may charge a fee which is primarily designed to weed out frivolity and impulsiveness. The term for taking a case on a collect only when won basis is called contingency.
Contingency is defined as dependence on chance or the fulfillment of a condition. The expected condition to be fulfilled in a personal injury case is a settlement, for pain and suffering, and punitive damages. Punitive is a term for additional damages to punish the defendant for their contribution to the injurious situation. This is to compensate not for the pain and suffering that the plaintiff already experienced, but for how their life will be adversely affected in the future.
Whether or not a lawyer or law firm will agree to take a case on a contingency basis depends on several factors. Is the injury clearly the result of the action of another person or group of people? Is the case supported by evidence that trauma really occurred and is severe enough to justify the cost of investigation, administration and litigation? Was there a violation of an existing law such as driving while intoxicated or failure to remove ice from a walkway? Do past similar cases indicate a potential for a significant Jury award of out of court settlement? Is there substantial money or assets available to pay the expected award?
Once an attorney or law firm makes the determination to move forward they can rest on the fact that most settlements are reached prior to going to the jury either out of court or before the trial ends. Attorneys also know that they have the David and Goliath principle on their side in many cases. Juries tend to stick up for the little guy against the big guy. If there is an insurance company involved this theory becomes even more significant. Their attorneys are aware of this and also know the huge amount of cost involved defending a case that is unlikely to be won.
The accident attorney knows the odds of collecting an award for his client are in his favor and that is why personal injury is the professional path of choice for so many attorneys. They generally collect around 30 percent of the award making it the most lucrative area of practice next to the class action lawsuit.
by: Leonard Simmons