Contingency fees are most often seen in Michigan personal injury cases and worker's compensation cases, but can also be used in probate court cases. They are not allowed in criminal cases or divorce cases. The lawyer advances the costs and expenses of the case in return for a fee that is a percentage of the total money recovery for the client.
In Michigan personal injury cases, this fees is usually 33 1/3% after deducting the file costs. Lawyers are allowed to charge these fees under the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct. The fees are almost always charged in virtually all personal injury cases, including Michigan car accident cases, Michigan motorcycle accident cases, Michigan truck accident cases, Michigan dog bite cases, Michigan wrongful death cases, Michigan slip and fall cases, and Michigan medical malpractice cases. In worker's compensation cases, the fee percentages are set by law.
Some lawyers may offer to represent a client at a lower rate, but prospective clients should be wary except for exceptional circumstances. The best personal injury lawyers are usually very busy and will only accept cases that are worth their time and effort. Lawyers charging a lower fee may not have a heavy caseload and may not work as hard on a case because they are receiving a lower fee. This would be like someone hiring a brain surgeon because they will do the surgery for less money.
There are several reasons why most personal injury cases involve this type of fee agreement. First, personal injury cases are extremely time intensive and labor intensive for the lawyer representing the injury victim. Most injury victims would simply not be able to afford to pay a lawyer a rate of $250.00 per hour or more to handle their case, especially because there is no guarantee of winning a settlement. On a typical case, the fees could amount to more than $25,000.00 and in a complex case the fees could total more than $50,000.00. Very few clients could afford these expenses on a case when there is no certainty of a recovery.
Second, the attorney for the other side of the case is usally being paid by an insurance company or corporate client who may not care how much money they pay in legal fees. Some insurance companies will pay whatever it takes just to win a case, even though they know that justice requires that they fairly compensate an injured person. They have a "winning at all costs" mentality. As such, they create a huge amount of work for the attorney representing the injured person, which makes it even more unlikely that the injured person could afford the best representation.
Third, by using a contingency fee agreement, the injured person is virtually assured that his or her lawyer will put up the best possible fight because the attorney's fees are dependent on the outcome of the case. An attorney will use all possible means to get the best result because this will not only make for a happy client but will also bring in a bigger attorney fee.
Fourth, there are significant expenses involved in pursing a Michigan personal injury case beyond just the lawyer's fees. These include court costs, deposition fees, medical record charges, and expert witness fees. In many cases, these expenses alone can amount to more than $20,000.00 and in medical malpractice cases up to $100,000.00. The lawyer advances these costs, because they are often to prohibitive for the client to pay, and the lawyer takes a risk that he will recover them at the end of the case. Obviously, the lawyer does not want to lose this money and this is further incentive to work hard on the case.
In order to hire the best lawyer for your your personal injury case, the fee agreement that is most beneficial to the client and the lawyer is the contingency fee agreement. The client does not have to pay the case expenses and is only responsible for an attorney fee if the case is successful. The attorney has incentive to do the best job for the client because it will result in a higher fee.
If you were injured in an accident, you should contact our firm immediately.
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We represent Michigan personal injury clients in Detroit, Southfield, Pontiac, Troy, Warren, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Lansing, East Lansing, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield, Farmington Hills, Rochester, Auburn Hills, Clarkston, Birmingham, Ferndale, Flint, Novi, Pontiac, Troy, Saginaw, Sterling Heights, Waterford, Wayne, Dearborn, Westland, Canton, Monroe, Ann Arbor, Mount Clemens, Livonia, Grayling, Grosse Pointe, St. Clair Shores, Brighton, Adrian, Allen Park, Clinton, Hamtramck, Northville, Garden City, Southgate, Harrison, Holland, Inkster, Allen Park, Belleville, Jackson, Madison Heights, Mount Pleasant, Oak Park, Okemos, Plymouth, Redford, Roseville, Romulus, Taylor, Wyandotte, Wyoming, Traverse City, Ypsilanti, Bad Axe, Northern Michigan, as well as residents of Wayne County, Kent County, Oakland County, Macomb County, Washtenaw County, Genesee County, Huron County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, Ingham County, Saginaw County, Livingston County, Lenawee County and all other Michigan counties.