February 14, 2015 • Personal Injury FAQs
Your attorney did a lousy job on your case which cost you your case. Now, can you go to the attorney and negotiate a lower fee for his legal services?
Do You need to Negotiate Attorney Fees
You filed a lawsuit because you sustained significant injuries because of the wrongdoing or carelessness of another person or business. You have marched through the entire case, your case went to trial, and your attorney lost your case. You are furious and outraged, and when the case is over, you go to the attorney and you demand that he lower his fees because he lost your case. You do not feel like paying money for his horrible or anemic legal services.
Well, actually, you do not have to negotiate any fees, as you do not have to pay your attorney a dime for anything he did during the course of your litigation. In New York a lawyer fighting an accident case, medical malpractice case, or wrongful death case, only is paid if he delivers a winning verdict. Can you imagine any other service provider saying that you do not have to pay him a dime, unless you are completely vindicated in such an important matter?
No service provider does this, except an attorney. No service provider says, I will lay out everything needed to prosecute your case, which could be thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. The lawyer will also spend numerous hours prosecuting your case, and he will be paid only if he manages to obtain a successful outcome for you and them.
Your Attorney is Paid only if He Wins Your Case
Hence, the injured victim has to pay the attorney only when the attorney wins the case, and receives compensation from the defendant. If a personal injury attorney works your case, fails to secure a favorable outcome, and no compensation is awarded to you, then legally you do not owe him or her anything, except the court fees and other incidental court expenses. According, to your retainer agreement with your lawyer, there is nothing to negotiate if he loses the case, because you do not owe him anything.
The retainer agreement mentions a contingency fee that has to be paid to the attorney, which will be a percentage of the compensation amount awarded to you by a jury or an amount you have received through settlement. Hence, you need to receive money first, for you to make a payment to your lawyer.
The personal injury lawyer will agree to handle your case, and only if he is successful, will your attorney be able to extract a percentage of whatever it is you are able to recover through a trial or settlement. This is a big load off your shoulders, because you will already be under financial strain because of treatment cost for the injuries you have suffered, lost work, and other issues such as perhaps a damaged vehicle.
Your Attorney Knows: No Victory, No Pay
You might also have lost many days at work because of the debilitating effect of your injuries, and paying the lawyer on top of all this would be quite unfair to you or any victim. There are lawyers who charge on an hourly or monthly basis, but almost all personal injury lawyers agree to contingency fees, which is a percentage of the awarded amount. So at least you can smile at something in this terrible ordeal that you must find another way to overcome.