Last mile legal fee arrangement for personal injury claim
April 17, 2012 8:43 AM Subscribe
Another driver ran a red light and hit my car, leaving me with minor but permanent injuries. Their insurance company accepts liability and wants to settle, but their offer is about 20% lower than what I'm willing to accept. I've handled everything myself to this point (and have compiled 700+ pages of well-organized documentation), but the insurance company won't budge and it seems I'll need an attorney to negotiate the last 20%.
What's the most reasonable fee arrangement for handling a nearly-resolved claim?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Most personal injury attorneys work on contingency, doing all the work up front and taking 30%-40% (plus expenses) from the total settlement. That's not a good match for me because I've done most of the work for them.
It seems like a letter from an attorney telling the insurance company that they now represent me is all it would take to get the results I need. Although I know some personal injury attorneys work on an hourly basis, I'm afraid of a potentially open-ended arrangement at $200 per hour or more.
In either case, the legal fees are likely to eat up more than the extra 20% I might hope to get. In a perfect world I could go to an attorney and say, "they offered to settle for $X, I will give you Y% of every dollar above $X you're able to negotiate in the final settlement." That would give them incentive to try for a bigger settlement, while not paying them for all the work I've already done.
Do competent personal injury attorneys ever accept this type of arrangement? If not, is there a common and fair arrangement for this situation?