One of the common concerns that you may have when looking for an attorney to represent you in your personal injury case is how are you going to be able to pay for the representation of a talented and experienced attorney. It can be intimidating to contact an attorney especially when you are unsure of things such as: how much it might cost up front, if you will have to pay the attorney a significant amount of your recovery, and if you will need to pay fees even if you do not collect any damages.
Nothing Up Front
In personal injury cases, one of the most common ways that attorneys are paid for their services is by contingency fee agreements. A contingency fee agreement is an agreement between the attorney and the client that the attorney will take the client's case and advance all fees and costs in exchange for a percentage of the recovery the client receives, if any. This means that while your case in ongoing, you pay nothing in attorney fees. The attorneys only collect the fee for their services when the case has come to a conclusion, either by settlement agreement, jury verdict, or judgment. If the client does not win his or her case then the attorney receives no fees or expense reimbursement for the work that has been done and the money that has been advanced.
Maryland And Contingency Fee Agreements
Like most states, Maryland permits attorneys to use contingency fees in personal injury cases. Rule 1.5(c) of the Maryland Lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct states the requirements that must be in each contingency fee agreement.
Rule 1.5(c): A fee may be contingent on the outcome of the matter for which the service is rendered, except in a matter in which a contingent fee is prohibited by paragraph (d) or other law. A contingent fee agreement shall be in a writing signed by the client and shall state the method by which the fee is to be determined, including the percentage or percentages that shall accrue to the lawyer in the event of settlement, trial or appeal; litigation and other expenses to be deducted from the recovery; and whether such expenses are to be deducted before or after the contingent fee is calculated. The agreement must clearly notify the client of any expenses for which the client will be responsible whether or not the client is the prevailing party. Upon conclusion of a contingent fee matter, the lawyer shall provide the client with a written statement stating the outcome of the matter, and, if there is a recovery, showing the remittance to the client and the method of its determination.
The contingency fee agreement must:
- Be in writing
- Signed by the client
- State the method by which the fee will be determined including the percentage fee charged at each stage of litigation (settlement, trial, appeal)
- What costs will be deducted and if those costs will be deducted before or after the contingency fee is calculated
- Clearly notify the client of any costs they will be responsible for whether or not they win
Rule 1.5(c) also requires that after the case is concluded, the attorney must provide a written statement detailing the outcome of the case, what recovery the client will receive if the case was successful, and how that recovery was calculated.
There is the possibility that an attorney representing a plaintiff in a personal injury case may request that his or her client provide initial funds to cover certain costs associated with the case, such as court filing fees, the cost of obtaining copies of medical records and depositions transcripts, and hiring expert witnesses, to name a few. However, the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian is well capitalized and we never require that our clients cover any expenses until the case is successfully resolved.
Maryland Personal Injury Firm
At Gilman & Bedigian we use contingency fee agreements in most personal injury cases. We mean what we say in our advertisements, "We get nothing unless you get paid." This means we do not charge you anything until your case is resolved. If you believe you may have a personal injury case, or if you have questions about contingency fee agreements, please contact out office today.
A contingency fee agreement may have some pros and cons, but overall it is a great thing because it allows everyone to seek compensation for the injuries they have suffered at the hands of another. These agreements give those who would not otherwise have the means to do so, the opportunity to hire a talented and experienced attorney to fight for them. No one who is seeking to right a wrong should not be prevented from doing so because it costs too much. If you're considering pursuing a personal injury claim, don't worry about fees, please contact our office today.