When a loved one has come to harm due to maltreatment suffered in a nursing home, the most important consideration is getting justice for him or her. However, you may have concerns about the costs involved in pursuing legal action, particularly hiring an attorney.
Personal injury attorneys who represent plaintiffs in cases involving nursing home abuse or neglect typically do not charge any money up front. Rather, they bill on a contingency basis. In other words, the attorney only gets paid if a certain condition is met, e.g., you win your case. If you lose, you do not have to pay the attorney anything.
How Does Contingency Billing Work?
When the attorney agrees to take on your case, the two of you agree on a contingency fee, which is a portion of the damages you recover. Sometimes your attorney charges a contingency fee on a sliding scale. In other words, the more you recover in damages, the larger fee your attorney will charge. Your attorney may also ask for a specific percentage of your award. This can range from 25% to 40% but is usually 33.3%, or one-third of your eventual award.
Most personal injury cases settle out of court, including those involving nursing home abuse and neglect. If your case goes to trial, it means a greater risk, and your attorney will have to invest more time and effort in preparation. The attorney may therefore charge a higher contingency fee if your case goes to trial.
Does Contingency Billing Mean That You Don’t Pay Anything if You Don’t Win?
If your case goes to court and you don’t win, you do not owe your attorney any money if he or she charges a contingency fee. However, there are other costs related to the case that your attorney does not charge you, such as court filing fees. You may still be responsible for paying these expenses, but they do not go to an attorney.
What Prevents the Attorney From Taking Most of the Award?
All lawyers must comply with a code of professional conduct that attorneys’ organizations set for themselves. The code of conduct prevents a lawyer from charging a contingency fee that would leave the client at a disadvantage because it is too exorbitant. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to negotiate the contingency fee with the attorney. If you feel it is too high, you have the option not to agree to it.
Hiring a nursing home neglect lawyer, to represent you and your loved one in a case of nursing home abuse can improve your position and help you recover more in damages. Contact a law office for a consultation.