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While you may pay a retainer or hourly fee for legal representation in many civil or criminal cases, personal injury claims often have a different arrangement called a contingency fee agreement. This helps you get legal services upfront without paying out-of-pocket. The attorney is only paid if they win. But who pays this cost once the claim is resolved?

Learn whether you can get the at-fault party to pay your attorney fees and how our South Carolina injury lawyers can help you understand your financial responsibilities after a case.

How Do Personal Injury Lawyer Fees Work?

When you hire a personal injury lawyer, they usually work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t need to pay them upfront. Instead, their payment comes out of your settlement if you win your case. This provides you with legal representation without having to worry about whether you can afford a lawyer. This is especially important since most personal injury victims are already struggling with lost wages and huge medical bills.

Most lawyers charge around 1/3 of the settlement for their fee in personal injury cases. However, the number can vary depending on the firm and whether or not a case goes to trial. South Carolina law requires that attorney fees must be reasonable for the time and labor involved.

Lawyer fees are also subject to an agreement between the client and their attorney. This means you will agree on how much will be taken from your settlement before your lawyer starts working on your case. This way, the amount you pay your lawyer at the end of a successful injury claim isn’t a surprise, and can’t be changed on you unexpectedly.

Can You Get the At-Fault Party to Pay Your Attorney Fees?

In situations such as breach of contract cases, the court may order the losing party to cover the winning party’s legal fees. However, in personal injury cases, your lawyer typically factors their fees into the overall settlement amount they negotiate on your behalf. This means the attorney’s fees are included in your compensation rather than receiving a separate payment from the at-fault party.

If you don’t win your case, this situation might differ, but most personal injury lawyers still won’t charge you any legal fees. They usually cover the costs themselves, so you won’t have to pay anything. At Joye Law Firm, our No Fee Guarantee means you don’t owe a penny if we are unable to obtain compensation for you. More importantly, we will be up-front with you during the intake process if we believe your case won’t result in compensation through a settlement or trial verdict.

Your contingency fee agreement might cover the following expenses. These will eventually be paid by the responsible party through the settlement or verdict awarded to you:

  • Lawyer’s Services: Payment for the lawyer’s professional time, experience, and efforts in representing you throughout the case.
  • Case Costs: This includes the overall expenses of taking legal action from start to finish. It can include mandatory payments required for processing your claim in the judicial system and filing fees for submitting legal documents to begin your court case.
  • Medical Record Costs: Expenses associated with obtaining the medical documentation necessary to support your injury claims, such as hospital bills, treatment logs, rehabilitation reports, and medication prescriptions.
  • Investigation and Expert Witness Fees: Expenses associated with investigating your case and payments for professionals whose expert testimonies may be crucial to your case.
  • Deposition and Mediation Costs: Costs related to taking depositions and participating in mediations as part of the legal process.

How Do Our Legal Fees Work at Joye Law Firm?

At Joye Law Firm, we take a fair approach to legal fees for personal injury cases. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect regarding fees when working with us:

  • Contingency Fee Agreement: When you choose to work with Joye Law Firm, we will establish a contingency fee agreement with you. This contract specifies that our legal fees depend on the success of your case, incentivizing us to achieve the highest possible settlement or jury verdict on your behalf.
  • Clear Fee Structure: The contract outlines the specific legal fee for any recovery we obtain for you, ensuring transparency.
  • No Out-of-Pocket Costs: You will not pay any case costs upfront. This includes expenses for case investigation, expert witness fees, medical record fees, deposition costs, and court filing fees. We front these costs and are only reimbursed if we win your case.
  • Fee Write-Off for Unsuccessful Cases: If we do not win your case, we absorb the case costs as a business loss, ensuring you owe nothing.
  • Success-Based Fees: If we win, our fees come from the settlement or court award. Our standard fee is 3% if the case is settled without going to court. For cases requiring a lawsuit, the fee is 40% to cover the extra effort, time, and resources needed for trial preparation.
  • Regulation Compliance: Our fees comply with the South Carolina Judicial Branch’s Rule 1.5, which prohibits collecting unreasonable fees.

Don’t Let Legal Fees Prevent You from Getting a Fair Settlement

Many personal injury victims hesitate to contact an attorney, worrying about the costs involved. At Joye Law Firm, we remove this concern by ensuring you never pay out-of-pocket for our legal services, even if we don’t win your case.

Our approach includes thoroughly investigating your case to calculate fair compensation, covering all court costs and attorney fees. The at-fault party covers your attorney fees as part of the overall settlement.

Reach out to us today for a free consultation. We’ll discuss your claim, explain our contingent fee structure, and guide you on the next steps to take.

About the Author

Since 1968, the South Carolina personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys of Joye Law Firm have been committed to securing compensation for accident and injury victims. Our compassionate and dedicated lawyers have over 300 years of combined litigation experience, and many of them have been recognized as South Carolina Super Lawyers. For many years, our South Carolina personal injury law firm has been listed with an AV rating in the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell legal directory.

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