Legal Guide

Understanding Why a Personal Injury Lawsuit Will Not Wreck Your Finances Even If You Lose

Many people are reluctant to seek legal advice despite being involved in an accident. This is simply because they think filing a lawsuit and fighting it to its conclusion is very expensive and it will be impossible for them to afford the legal fees and the expenses, especially if the injury has forced them to stay off work. Consequently, due to the lack of better knowledge, they lose out on a chance of getting compensation for their medical treatment, loss of wages, physical and emotional trauma, etc. In short, they could end up being ruined due to someone else’s lack of responsible behavior. Contrary to popular opinion, filing a lawsuit for compensation for a personal injury need not be expensive at all. Here’s why:

Personal Injury Lawyers Work on Contingency Fees

When you appoint a lawyer to file a lawsuit in the court seeking compensation and damages for personal injury against a negligent party, you are not required to pay anything in advance. Typically, the terms of engagement will specify that the case is being taken on a contingency fee basis. The lawyer will receive his fees only if he is successful in winning the lawsuit or extracting a settlement. It is important to keep in mind that the contingent fee applies only when the case is won. If the case is lost, no fees accrue to the lawyer.

The Basis of Determination of the Fees 

Even though the typical contingency fee is 33%, clients and lawyers are free to decide on any other percentage. For example, the fee charged by Hutchison & Stoy in Fort Worth depends on various factors, principal of them being the chances of a successful outcome, the nature and complexity of the case, the risk and expense of pursuing the claim, the expected recovery amount, as well as costs awarded. Because lawyers only get paid if they are successful, they tend to be very choosy in accepting cases. Clients can exercise the option of paying by an hourly rate instead of a contingency fee; however, the fee is payable regardless of the outcome of the case.

Legal Expenses

To fight a case, certain expenses have to be incurred; some are one-time while others may be recurring costs. These include court filing fees, fees charged by expert witnesses, cost of assistance in preparing courtroom presentations, cost of investigations, cost of documentation, photocopying, faxing, telephone, mail, etc., as well as the cost of conducting research. The contingency fee retainer agreement will specify whether the costs will be deducted from the award amount before or after the lawyer takes his fee. The court award may also include an amount towards costs, which will reduce or eliminate the need for the reimbursement of costs by the client. According to, lawyers advance the costs of the case to the client and cannot deduct them until the case is settled.


Clients need to understand right from the very outset, the terms of the retainer agreement that governs the client-lawyer relationship. They must ask for clarifications on any aspect they don’t understand to prevent confusion at a later stage. Whatever be the specifics of the agreement, the existence of contingency fees makes it possible for clients to file lawsuits without any fear of being burdened with expenses that they cannot afford.

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