How Much Do Personal Injury Attorneys Charge?
Updated: May 22
Personal injury attorneys like me generally work on a contingent fee basis. This means I only get paid if certain contingencies occur – if I am successful in resolving your case in a settlement, or by winning at trial. The inverse is also true – I don’t charge anything if I cannot settle your case or win at trial.
There are two main benefits of the contingent fee arrangement. One is that you never have to go into your pocket to pay me – the attorney’s fees (and any costs) are just taken out of the gross amount recovered which is usually paid by an insurance company. The second benefit of this fee structure is that it creates a strong incentive for me to fight as hard as I can for you because the larger the gross amount recovered, the more you get and the more I get as well!
Attorney’s fees based on contingent fee arrangements can range from 33.33% to 38.33% to 40%, and even higher. This will be explicitly spelled out in any fee agreement you sign. Sometimes, fee agreements can be graduated depending on what stage a case is at. For example, cases usually start at a “claims” stage where an insurance claim is made against the at-fault person or company. The attorney’s fees at this stage could be 33.33%. The next step is the filing of the lawsuit, at which point some attorneys might raise their fee from 33.33% to 38.33%. The next stage is the trial, at which point some attorneys might raise their fees from 38.33% to 40%. If the trial verdict is appealed, attorney’s fees can go even higher. Currently, I charge a flat 33.33% and do not graduate my rates based on the stage of the case.
The reason that attorney’s fees are often graduated is because the stages at which the fees increase correspond with a substantial increase in the amount of legal work involved in the case. A case that must be litigated requires far more work than a case that can be resolved at the insurance claim stage. Similarly, a case that is appealed requires a significant amount of additional work compared even to preparing a case for a jury trial.
Make sure you ask questions to your attorney before signing your fee agreement so you are aware of its structure. I have incorporated various amendments into my fee agreements based on circumstances of cases, and it is always something I am willing to discuss.