Jill Kolodner | February 1, 2024 | Personal Injury
If you’ve been injured in Baltimore, Maryland, it’s important to understand your next steps. The most important action is to consult with a Baltimore-based personal injury attorney. They are equipped to guide you through your options, from negotiation to legal action in court.
Concerns about finances are understandable. Getting legal help shouldn’t worsen your financial situation, and, fortunately, there are options available.
How Do Lawyers Get Paid in a Contingency Fee Case?
In Baltimore, Maryland, personal injury lawyers typically work on a contingency fee basis. This means your lawyer only receives a fee if you get paid. Under this arrangement, a portion of the compensation you receive goes to your attorney. These fee arrangements are exclusive to civil cases and not available for criminal cases.
Typically, this portion is about one-third of the total amount awarded. For example, if you are awarded $120,000 in your case, your lawyer would receive $40,000.
Contingency fee agreements must be in writing and signed by the client. The agreement must clearly outline how the fee will be calculated, including what percentage will be charged at different stages of litigation.
What’s Covered in the Fee?
In a contingency fee agreement in Baltimore, Maryland, the fee is deducted from the total compensation you receive, whether from a settlement or a court judgment. This compensation can cover both your economic and non-economic damages, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Emotional distress
- Lost earnings
- Physical pain and suffering
- Long-term health issues
- Diminished quality of life
- Other financial and non-financial losses
The contingency fee doesn’t necessarily cover certain expenses related to your case. These might include court filing fees, costs for obtaining medical records, expert witness fees, and other miscellaneous expenses incurred during the legal process. In Maryland, your attorney should explain how these expenses are handled.
Often, but not always, these costs are either deducted from the final settlement. Being aware of these potential additional costs is crucial for a comprehensive understanding of the financial aspects of your personal injury case in Baltimore.
Alternative Payment Methods
When considering payment options for legal assistance, you typically have two alternatives to contingency fees: hourly fees and flat fees.
Hourly fees involve paying your attorney for every hour they dedicate to your case, regardless of the outcome. This method can result in significant costs, as legal matters can be time-consuming. Additionally, hourly billing doesn’t incentivize attorneys to work efficiently, as there is no direct financial incentive for them to resolve your case quickly.
Flat fees, on the other hand, are a fixed amount agreed upon for legal services. Lawyers often use flat fees for more predictable, straightforward matters where the amount of work required is relatively easy to estimate.
This fee structure can be beneficial for clients who prefer a clear, upfront cost without the unpredictability of hourly billing. Flat fees provide certainty regarding legal expenses, but it’s important to understand what services are included in this fee to avoid unexpected costs.
Each of these payment methods has its own advantages and drawbacks. Hourly fees offer a pay-as-you-go approach but can become expensive, while flat fees provide cost certainty but may not be suitable for complex or unpredictable legal matters. Choosing the right fee structure depends on the specifics of your case and your financial circumstances.
How Will I Receive My Compensation After My Case?
When your case is resolved, the payment process is straightforward and secure. The awarded funds are first deposited into a trust account managed by your attorney. This standard practice ensures that all funds are securely and separately held.
From this account, your lawyer will deduct their agreed-upon contingency fee and any additional costs associated with your case.
After these deductions, your attorney will transfer the remaining amount to you. Your lawyer must provide you with an itemized statement detailing all deductions made from your settlement or judgment amount. This statement offers transparency and ensures you have a clear understanding of where your money has been spent.
Contact the Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer Law Firm of WGK Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help
WGK Personal Injury Lawyers
14 W Madison St, Baltimore, MD 21201, United States