Consumers can hold these parties responsible by filing a products liability claim with the help of products liability lawyers.
The prospect of suing someone or a company can be intimidating, and it is only natural that consumers have many questions about the process and what comes next.
One of the most common questions our lawyers are asked is “how do products liability lawyers get paid?” Consumers who have never worked with a lawyer before are often afraid that the costs of hiring a lawyer will be too expensive or will prevent them from getting help. That’s often not the case.
How Products Liability Lawyers Get Paid
Most products liability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means that the lawyer only gets paid if they recover damages for their client. Clients pay no fees up front and are not responsible for out-of-pocket expenses related to the case.
Instead, the contingency fee – a percentage of the total award or settlement amount – is deducted from the amount the client receives in the case. If the products liability claim is settled between the client and an insurance company, the contingency fee will be deducted from the settlement amount. But if the case goes to trial, then the fee will be deducted from the amount awarded by the judge.
Contingency fees are great for clients because it allows them to get the legal help they need without the added stress of how they will pay for the lawyer. Injury victims often have a lot of unexpected expenses related to their injury, so the last thing they need to worry about is finding more money for a lawyer’s hourly rate.
However, clients should be aware of the costs associated with a products liability claim, including the percentage that the lawyer will take once the case is won.
How Much Does a Products Liability Claim Cost?
Every products liability claim is different, so it is difficult to estimate how much the case will cost. Some estimates suggest that a products claim can cost as much as $100,000. The costs involved with a products liability claim may include:
- Gathering documents and medical records
- Interviewing witnesses
- Obtaining evidence
- Filing documents with the court
- The lawyers’ fees
- Applicable law firm fees (copying, postage, notary services, etc.)
- Hiring expert witnesses
Generally, a products liability lawyer will collect 15-40% of the settlement or award amount. Depending on your agreement with the lawyer, you may be responsible for paying legal fees and court costs. Sometimes, these fees will be deducted from your award, then the lawyer will draw their percentage. Other times, the lawyer’s fees are deducted first. How this is arranged can impact how much money you get in the end.
But remember, in any case with a contingency fee basis, they will only collect this money if you win.
Things to Know about Contingency Fees
There are two variations of the contingency fee arrangement that are common in products liability claims. These are:
- Contingency Hourly Arrangement: This arrangement states that you will pay your lawyer an hourly rate for every hour worked. You will not pay this unless you win your case. This arrangement is common in cases subject to laws that allow you to recover attorney’s fees from the defendant.
- Mixed Hourly-Contingent Arrangement: This arrangement states that you will immediately pay part of the lawyer’s hourly rate, and the remainder is paid only if you win your case. Generally, the lawyer gets the upfront hourly rate and also a percentage of the recovery amount. The overall percentage taken for attorney’s fees is generally much less.
No matter what type of fee arrangement you and your lawyer choose, the most important thing is that you are aware of the details and how it could affect your recovery amount. Talk to prospective lawyers up front and ask them about their fees and how they collect them. Then, as you move through the legal process, ask for updates on costs.