Personal Injury

How Does A Personal Injury Lawyer Get Paid?

A personal injury lawyer is someone who provides legal services to his clients, the clients have be injured physically or psychologically, as a result of negligence of other person, company, agency or entity. The term “trial lawyer” is also used for personal lawyers.

The job involves drafting pleadings, motions and discovery requests. This also includes interviewing witnesses as well. All this process contributes to trail preparations. Personal injury lawyers are their client’s advocate before and during the trail.

Before getting into how a personal injury lawyer is paid let’s get familiar with some technical terms as well. Plaintiff: A plaintiff is the party who initiates a lawsuit before a court. By doing so, the plaintiff seeks a legal remedy; if this search is successful, the court will issue judgment in favor of the plaintiff and make the appropriate court order.

Defendant: A defendant is a person accused of committing a crime in criminal prosecution or a person against whom some type of civil relief is being sought in a civil case. Terminology varies from one jurisdiction to another.

If you find yourself in a law suit there are plenty of ways to pay for an attorney’s services. In these type of case there is freedom of choice for both the clients and the attorneys to choose fee arrangement. Usually the side which the attorney represent dictates how the personal injury attorney get paid.

  1. When a personal injury lawyer represent plaintiff:

It is important to know the fact that most of the attorneys practicing personal injury law will get payment under a contingency fee agreement when they get hired by a plaintiff.

Contingency fee: In most kind of law practices, attorneys gets compensation in return of the legal services they provide. But as personal injury lawyers, after an accident or any other incident which results in injury you may be in need of legal representation. If you don’t have any money to pay to an experienced lawyer you can draft a contingency fee agreement.

The attorney doesn’t get his/her fee unless he/she is able to get a claim for the client. Their fee generally is a certain percentage of amount the client get from the personal injury lawsuit after trails.

There are number of derivations with contingency fee agreement:

  • Mixed-hourly contingent

The lawyer gets a reduced hourly rate for the case work, even when the plaintiff loses. But, the attorney will get a certain amount if they win the case. This can be an additional fee or some percentage of the total compensation.

  • Sliding-scale contingent

This is a simple contingency fee agreement, but the fee percentage gets higher with time. For instance, you have might have to pay only 25% when the case get settled before the lawsuit is filed. This might get to 40% with the trials and the attorney wins the case for you.

  • Contingency hourly

This is a contingency fee agreement, where the lawyer doesn’t get paid unless they get some amount for their client. Moreover, the attorney gets paid for the time the attorney spends working for the case. This arrangement is quite rare unless they have the skill to recover the settlement money from the defendant.

  1. Personal injury lawyers representing defendants

For lawyers defending their clients, most of the fee arrangement is settled on hourly basis. For instance, if the attorney gets paid for the number of hours he spend working on the case.

There are several reformed hourly fee arrangements as well:

  • Retainer

Even before working on the case a certain payment is deposited in al bank account which is different from the firm’s account. As the case get completed the attorney will withdraw the amount from the retainer.

  • Blended hour

If there are more than one lawyer working on a case the hourly-rate is adjusted to the average of the each attorney’s individual hourly rate. For example, both the attorneys charge 150$ and 100$ per hour respectively, you have to pay 125$ per hour flat when they both work on your case.

  • Hourly cap

This is an hourly-fee agreement but with a fixed cap on how much the attorney can bill his client. Even if the lawyer spends more hours working on a case he gets won’t be getting any compensation.

For plaintiff: as most of the attorney’s work is contingent, they only gets paid when they recover a settlement amount for their client. They will get a certain percentage of the amount which they recovered. This fees is from the money paid by the defendant.

For defendant: if any insurance policy applies to the said incident, then the policy will pay for all the settlements. Also, the insurance company is going to select and pay the fees for a personal injury lawyer on behalf of the defendant. In case no insurance policy covers the accident, then the defendant must pay for all the expenses from his own pocket.

Insurance company’s defence:  insurance policies purchased for protecting businesses, home, vehicles, includes a “duty to defend provision”. This insurance company therefore has to provide and pay for a personal injury lawyer in case the policy is triggered.

You can visit for more information on how to get yourself a personal injury lawyer. The team at Pittsburgh injury lawyers will provide you with

  • Free consultation: as the clients doesn’t have to pay for the attorney if they don’t win their case.
  • Top expertise: the lawyers here are extremely talented and experienced. They try to keep the legal procedure as smooth as possible for their clients.
  • 24/7 support and attention: you get customer support at all time. You can get in touch with your lawyer whenever and wherever you want.
  • Specialized services: they provide specialized services to their clients. As the lawyers there have expertise in personal injury and malpractice lawsuits.


Paola Garcia lives in Jakarta Indonesia. She is an associate professor in University of Indonesia and also managing Scoopinion at the same time. She is also fond of watching theatrical plays.
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