You may need legal advice to proceed with your construction accident case, but what about paying a lawyer to get that advice? How does a construction accident lawyer get paid, and when? Worries about expenses may keep you from getting legal advice when you need it the most.
Our Indianapolis construction accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you win your claim and get compensation. Here’s how the settlement process works and when your lawyer will take out their fee.
Ways Lawyers Get Paid
There are three common ways lawyers set up their fees with clients. Construction accident lawyers usually choose a contingency fee system, but you should be familiar with all three.
A lawyer who gets paid through contingency fees can only claim their fee if you win your case. Their pay is contingent on winning the case.
Contingency fees have many advantages for clients. The most important is that it gives anyone who gets hurt on the job access to legal representation. You do not need to pay upfront to get help. In fact, you don’t have to pay at all until you win compensation with your lawyer’s help.
Your construction accident lawyer gets paid a percentage of whatever you win at the end. You and your lawyer will agree to the percentage before your lawyer begins work. Using percentages keeps pay fair and motivates lawyers to win as much as possible. The more you win, the more they get paid.
A retainer fee is paid upfront to a lawyer for services, like a deposit. The lawyer will estimate how much time and effort it will take to complete a legal task and charge accordingly. If their work takes more time or costs more than expected, they may charge more money to continue.
A person or a business may also pay a retainer fee to a lawyer just to have them on standby. If they suddenly need legal help, they don’t have to go through the consultation process. Instead, they can call on their lawyer immediately.
Another payment system related to retainer fees is flat fees. A lawyer may decide to charge a certain amount upfront based on their experience with doing a legal task.
Finally, a lawyer may charge an hourly fee to work. They may do this from the start or charge hourly after a retainer fee runs out. Hourly fees are the most unpredictable because you can’t know how long a lawyer will take to complete a task.
Some personal injury lawyers do a hybrid between contingency fees and hourly fees. They’ll charge a much lower hourly fee and then take a contingency fee if you win at the end. This is sometimes called a modified contingency fee.
How do Construction Accident Lawyers Get Paid in Workers’ Compensation Cases?
Compensation for some cases, like a car accident, gets paid in a lump sum at the end of the case. Your lawyer will take their fee and pass the rest on to you. But how does it work in a case where you get ongoing payments like workers’ compensation?
You might think that your lawyer will take a percentage of each check you get, but that’s not how it works. When you’re awarded workers’ compensation, you get a lump sum of compensation from the day you were injured until the day you were awarded compensation and then get regular payments after that.
The contingency fee comes out of that first lump sum. Future payments are untouched.
Can a Construction Accident Lawyer Touch My Other Assets?
Assuming you have a standard contingency fee contract, no. Part of the contingency fee policy is that they can only get paid through what you win. A lawyer can’t charge a minimum and then send you a bill for what you didn’t win.
Your lawyer may ask you to spend some of your own money on certain things. For example, you may need a particular medical test for evidence in your claim. These costs can be added to your final settlement, so you’ll get the money back if you win, and sometimes, payment can be put off until your case is done.
Read Your Contract Carefully and Ask Questions
Your contract will spell out exactly how your construction accident lawyer gets paid, so it’s essential that you understand it completely before you sign. The consultation is the time to ask questions about payment. Once you sign, you’re bound by the terms.
Do not feel shy about asking about your lawyer’s rates and payment policies. If you choose to consult with Vaughan & Vaughan about a construction accident, we encourage questions so you’ll feel comfortable working with us.