How Is My Personal Injury Attorney Compensated?
There are two ways in which a personal injury attorney is compensated, one of which is used in the overwhelming majority of cases. In Colorado, we are required to give a prospective client the option of hiring our office on a traditional hourly arrangement, meaning that the client would pay us a certain amount of money per hour for attorney’s fees, paralegal services, etc. Most people, however, choose to hire our office on a contingency fee basis, which means that if there is never any settlement or money recovered on behalf of the client, then we will not receive any fee.
The strict hourly arrangements aren’t typically used in injury cases because they just really do not make sense. A person who pays us on an hourly arrangement is usually taking a lot more risk because they are going to have to pay money upfront and will have to pay us on a regular (usually monthly) basis regardless of whether they win or lose the case. Most people either do not want to spend the money, do not have the money to pay us upfront, or they just do not want to take the risk or the uncertainty of whatever their settlement or award could end up being. We can never ethically guarantee any client a certain amount of money because there are too many factors and moving parts.
Most people will opt for a percentage of award type of contract, which would be spelled out in an agreement that would be signed in advance of hiring us. Although the agreement is pretty straightforward, we are happy to discuss any questions or concerns that a potential client may have. We are always upfront with people and comply with all of the ethical guidelines by which attorneys are bound under Colorado law.
What Are Some Things That Could Minimize The Amount Of My Settlement?
Failing to be honest with an attorney, the insurance companies or the court could minimize or eliminate altogether a person’s settlement. While there are certain communications between an attorney and a client that are not subject to disclosure and are covered by the attorney-client privilege, that doesn’t mean that someone can be dishonest. It is very rare that we see people who are dishonest.
Failing to document or provide evidence that supports a claim can also result in a minimization of a settlement. In other words, it is one thing to be injured, and another thing to prove the nature and extent of that injury.
If someone is involved in a car collision, then they should always have the police investigate it. If the police do not investigate it, then there will be no police report and it will be one person’s word against another person’s word as to what exactly happened. This will raise all kinds of questions in the minds of the at-fault person’s insurance carrier.
The same thing is true in terms of treatment for the injuries. If an injured party fails to see their treatment providers regularly and follow their advice, then that will also raise questions. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons why a person failed to follow their advice, but it will raise questions nonetheless. We have to work hard and ensure that every possible document and piece of evidence-whether it’s a photograph or a doctor’s report is placed on the desk of the insurance company and explained to them in detail so that they know how extensively the accident affected our client’s life.
What Tips Would You Give To Potential Clients To Help Them Maximize Their Settlement Amount?
One tip that I would give to potential clients in order to help them maximize their settlement is to keep in contact with their attorney. Listen to your attorney’s advice. When we represent clients, we advise them on every step in the process. If they have questions or concerns, we can help address them. The earlier we are involved in a case the better. If a person is still in pain after having followed the advice of their doctor, then that is something that we should talk about. This is because there may be additional treatments of which they are unaware. Due to our level of experience, we may have options that would make more sense for a client. It will be a team effort between the client and their attorney.
We want to put our clients’ best cases forward through preparation and hard work. There is no magic to it; a lot of it is common sense and old fashion hard work, but we have learned a lot through our experience of handling literally thousands of personal injury cases. While each injury and the facts of any particular case vary, there are certainly common threads. It’s important for clients to be prepared to do their part and to cooperate with our office as much as they can, because that will help ensure the best outcome for their cases.
For more information on Paying A Personal Injury Attorney, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (303) 870-8492 today.
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