Yes, You CAN Afford a San Antonio Injury Lawyer

Yes, You CAN Afford a San Antonio Injury LawyerMany injured people assume that hiring an attorney is extremely costly—an expense they cannot afford, particularly if they are unable to work due to an accident and are watching their bills pile up.

However, most San Antonio personal injury lawyers, including at the Law Offices of Pat Maloney, handle injury cases on a contingency basis. With no upfront retainer or monthly invoices to worry about, you can afford a San Antonio injury lawyer. Since insurance companies are always trying to pay out the lowest amount possible, you can’t afford not to hire an attorney in a serious injury matter.

What are contingency fees?

Legal contingency fees, also known as “no win, no fee” arrangements, are commonly used in civil lawsuits, particularly personal injury cases. Here’s how they typically work:

  • Retainer agreement. The client and the lawyer enter into a contract that specifies the terms of the contingency fee arrangement. This retainer agreement outlines that the lawyer will only receive payment if the client wins the case or obtains a settlement. If the client loses, the lawyer receives no fee.
  • Percentage. The agreement usually stipulates that the lawyer will receive a percentage of the compensation awarded to the client. This percentage can vary but frequently falls between 33% to 40% of the final settlement or judgment amount. If the fee differs based on the outcome—whether the case settles out of court or goes to trial—the exact percentage the lawyer receives for each outcome must be clearly stated.
  • Costs. While the lawyer typically fronts the expenses of litigation (court costs, expert witness fees, travel expenses, postage, etc.), these expenses are usually reimbursed from the settlement or judgment amount before the contingency fee is calculated. However, it’s essential to clarify in the agreement whether the client is responsible for expenses regardless of the case outcome.
  • Risk. Since the lawyer only gets paid if the case is successful, they are taking on a considerable risk by agreeing to a contingency fee arrangement. Because of this risk, lawyers are selective about the cases they accept on a contingency basis, often choosing those with strong merits and a high likelihood of success.
  • Advantages. Contingency fees make legal representation accessible to individuals who may not be able to afford upfront legal fees. This arrangement aligns the interests of the lawyer and the client, as both parties share the goal of maximizing the compensation awarded to the client.
  • Ethics. Legal ethics rules typically govern contingency fee arrangements to ensure they are fair and reasonable. For example, lawyers must disclose the terms of the agreement to the client in writing, and the percentage charged must be reasonable given the complexity and risk involved in the case.
  • Approval. In some jurisdictions and for certain types of cases, contingency fee agreements may require court approval to ensure they are fair and in the client’s best interest, particularly if the fee exceeds a certain percentage of the recovery.

Contingency fee arrangements provide an avenue for individuals to pursue legal action without bearing the financial risk upfront, while also incentivizing lawyers to diligently represent their clients’ interests.

What happens to my award after I’ve won the case but before I get paid?

Under the typical contingency fee agreement, after the case is won but before the client gets paid, several steps usually occur:

  • Calculation of the contingency fee. The contingency fee is calculated based on the agreed-upon percentage of the gross award amount. This percentage is outlined in the contingency fee agreement signed by the client and the lawyer.
  • Reimbursement of costs. Any costs incurred during the litigation process, such as court fees, expert witness fees, and other costs are usually deducted after the contingency fee is calculated and reimbursed to the lawyer.
  • Payment to the lawyer. The lawyer receives their portion of the award as outlined in the contingency fee agreement. This payment compensates the lawyer for their services, time, and the risk they took by representing the client on a contingency basis.
  • Subrogation. In Texas, subrogation is a legal process that allows an insurance company to recover the amount it paid to its insured client for a loss. Therefore, If the client’s auto insurance company paid some of their accident-related medical bills, they have a right to seek reimbursement out of the settlement proceeds.
  • Medical liens. If your attorney has received notice of medical liens from those who provided your accident-related medical treatment, they will pay those out of your settlement. I
  • Medical bills. If you have received additional medical bills, some attorneys will attempt to negotiate a reduction in those balances and pay them out of your settlement on your behalf, or you may be responsible for paying those out of your settlement check.
  • Final disbursement: After the lawyer’s fees, expenses, and medical liens are deducted from the award, the remaining amount is paid to the client. This amount represents the client’s compensation for damages, injuries, or losses incurred as a result of the case.

The lawyer has a duty to provide the client with a detailed accounting of how the award was distributed, including the amount deducted for the contingency fee and costs. This transparency helps ensure that the client understands how their compensation was calculated and that they received a fair and accurate distribution of the award.

The Law Offices of Pat Maloney is the longest serving plaintiffs’ injury law firm in San Antonio. Our firm handles all types of vehicle accident cases—car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, Uber/Lyft, pedestrian, and more—on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay unless we win. With a proven success rate of around 99 percent, you can rest assured that we will pursue full and fair damages to compensate you for all accident-related injuries. Call us in San Antonio or fill out our contact form to schedule your free initial consultation with a San Antonio personal injury lawyer today.