How Does A Personal Injury Attorney Get Paid?

By Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C.Family Law Attorney

Personal Injury Lawyer

Depending on the personal injury attorney you hire, they may have a specific way they require payment, the amount, and specific contractual agreements that they will abide by to get paid the way they prefer. You want to ensure before you even file your civil personal injury claim, that you find the right attorney for your needs.

There are some factors you want to take into consideration when looking for the attorney you would like to hire for your claim. Depending on the type of case you may have, certain attorneys may or may not practice the specific law needed to represent you best. To ensure you will receive proper representation, you may want to ask for referrals from friends or family, or even look at directories to find attorneys within your area. Additionally, check attorney websites to read their biographies as well as any online reviews and check the state bar association. If you are satisfied with a list of attorneys you have selected, the next step within the process should be to call the office to ensure your case meets their criteria and to meet with them. Take into consideration how comfortable the attorney makes you feel and ensure that you are compatible. It is extremely important to  find an attorney who fits your needs. Before your meeting with your attorney, you want to ensure that you have all the documents ready and prepared to be as organized as possible. This can include insurance information, identifications, medical bills and estimates, and all other pertinent and related documents related to the accident. Before officially selecting your attorney and signing any contracts, the attorney should talk to you about how they will be receiving payment. There are quite a few ways your attorney can receive payment, and you want to make sure you are comfortable with this before signing any contracts.


Retainers and retainer fees are when attorneys are paid a set fee which is agreed upon between the attorney and the client, before the any work is done on the case. The retainer fee can be paid in portions, and can be paid overtime as the attorney works more on the case. These fees can range from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars and depends on the specific attorney and their conditions. Depending on case type, attorney experience, and several other factors, the attorney is free to decide what the price range should be.

Hourly Fees

Some experienced attorneys can estimate exactly how long a specific type of case or claim will take. Due to this, they may charge an hourly rate instead of a traditional retainer. These fees are usually assigned to work that is not as rigorous and will take significant less time for the attorney, therefore a traditional retainer is not necessary.

Flat Fees

A flat fee is a specific set price which is set for the entire case or legal service and is usually applied to a case type that does not require the attorney to do significant work. For these kinds of fees, there is usually a specific template that the attorney must follow to do the kind of work being requested, and therefore, charges a flat fee for the completion of that document.

Contingency Fees

Contingency fees are fees that are contingent on the success of that specific case. This means that the attorney and client may come to the agreement that once the attorney has won the case, they will get a percentage of the compensation that the client receives. This type of payment is more common for worker’s compensation cases and personal injury lawsuits, and generally, the attorney takes about one third of the money from the settlement or compensation that the client receives.

Consultation Fees

Consultation fees are the initial fees which an attorney can charge for their very first appointment when meeting the potential client and hearing about the case. This appointment is used by the attorney and client to see if they are compatible, if this case is something the attorney has experience with, and if the attorney would potentially be able to win this case. Depending on the experience of the attorney, this price range can stand anywhere from $50-$500, for just this initial consultation. It is important to note that many personal injury attorneys do not charge a consultation fee, and meet with potential clients for free.

If you’ve been injured, a personal injury lawyer can advise you on the complexities of the law and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Thanks to Eglet Adams for their insight on how personal injury attorneys get paid after a civil litigation case.

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