What Does “Contingency Fee” Mean?

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You may have heard the phrase “no fee unless we win” on personal injury commercials. But what does it actually mean? The “no fee unless we win” arrangement is referred to as a contingency fee. The “contingent” portion of the fee means that the attorney gets a portion of what the client’s overall settlement is. So, for example, if a client gets a settlement of $30,000.00, the attorney gets a previously agreed upon percentage of that number. If the client gets $0, then the attorney gets $0 as well – this is the “no fee unless we win” part.

A contingency fee is either a set or escalating fee often utilized in personal injury cases. A set fee would be a percentage, typically 33.3333%, of the overall settlement. If the fee is set, this means that the attorney takes 33.3333% no matter if the case settles before going to trial or after a case is a tried.

If the contingency fee is an escalating fee, then the overall percentage will escalate depending on how far the case is taken. For example, if the case settles before the attorney files a complaint, the attorney may take 33.3333% of the settlement. If the attorney has to file a complaint, they may take 35%. If the attorney takes the case all the way through trial, they may take 40% of the jury verdict award.

Contingency fee arrangements are most often seen in personal injury cases, such as automobile collisions, slip and falls, wrongful deaths, and medical malpractice. Contingent fee arrangements may be available for employment law or collection matters. They are rarely or never available for business services such as drafting business documents, business litigation, divorce, child custody, bankruptcy, or criminal matters.

Prior to entering a contingency fee agreement with a lawyer, make sure that you speak with the lawyer about the contingency fee arrangement to ensure that you fully understand the agreement, including the risks and benefits to you.

What’s My Personal Injury Case Worth?

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“What’s my case worth?” This is a question that our personal injury attorneys hear almost daily. The answer is that your case value depends on a lot of different factors. The main factors are:

  • Liability – Who is at fault in your case? If you were involved in a car accident and you were not ticketed, but the other driver was, then you are likely completely not at fault. Other cases are not so simple. Fault can be apportioned between the parties, for example, in a slip and fall on an icy sidewalk, you may be found 30% at fault while the landowner is found 70% at fault. If liability is apportioned, it can greatly decrease the value of your case.
  • Medical Treatment – Did you seek medical treatment immediately after the incident? What kind of treatment did you seek (hospital, physical therapy, etc.)? Did you have to treat for a few months or a few years? How much in medical bills were incurred during your treatment? Injuries requiring invasive surgery or permanent impairment are often worth more than cases involving muscle sprains and strains.
  • Damages – Damages are the largest category for determining the worth of your case. It takes into account medical bills, lost wages, and past and future pain and suffering. If your injury has had a huge impact on your life, for example, you broke both legs and were unable to work for a certain amount of time, the value of your case is likely to be greater than cases involving a nagging or inconvenient injury.

If you’ve been injured, it is important to talk with a personal injury attorney so that you can evaluate the potential value of your case and discuss all your options.

The Insurance Company offered Me a Settlement. What Should I do?

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If you were recently in an auto accident and have not yet had the chance to obtain a personal injury attorney, the insurance company might offer you a settlement in order to close your claim before you have had a chance to fully evaluate your injuries and your options. If you accept the settlement, you may be accepting an amount far lower than what you are entitled to.

Settlements are not offered without an absolute release on your behalf. This means that you cannot accept the settlement and cash the settlement check without giving up your rights to further payment from that insurance company. Depending on the permanency of your injury, the extent of your injury, past and future medical bills, and any lost wages that you may have incurred, it is important that a personal injury attorney evaluate your case prior to your accepting a settlement agreement.

If you’re being offered a settlement on an auto accident case and do not know if the settlement is fair, contact the personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Daniel T. Goodwin to discuss your options.

Social Media and Your Personal Injury Claim: Part One

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Social Media and Your Personal Injury Claim: Part One

If you have been hurt in an auto accident and are thinking about, or are already, pursuing a personal injury claim, and are one of the millions of people utilizing social media, there are things you need to keep in mind before posting on your online profile.

Anything you post, including seemingly harmless posts about a recent vacation or outing with friends and family, might be used by the insurance company to deny or limit your claim.

Keep the following in mind before you post:

  • Request that your friends do not “tag” you in their posts as you do not have control over what they post.
  • Change your privacy setting to maximum security, make your profile private, or temporarily suspend your profile.
  • Do not accept “friend” or “follow” requests from accounts that you do not know.
  • Do not post anything that you would not want a jury or a judge to see, even if you think you have a good explanation for it.
  • Do not post anything about your personal injury claim.
  • Do not post anything about your medical care.
  • Do not post anything about conversations between you and your attorney.

Do I really need an attorney?

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“Do I really need an attorney?”

After being in an auto accident, you probably have a lot of thoughts and worries. You may not know what to do next or what your rights are.
“How am I going to get my car fixed?”
“Will I still be able to drive to work?”
“Will insurance cover this?”
“Can I afford to be injured?”
You have questions. We have answers.
Our team of personal injury attorneys is here to help you through every step of your claim, including assisting you in obtaining treatment for your injuries, understanding the financial aspect of your claim, and negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company.
Don’t give the insurance company an opportunity to take advantage of you. Insurance companies may try to low-ball you and pressure you into settlement if you do not have an attorney. Make sure that you speak with an attorney first to understand the true value of your claim and the full extent of your injuries.
At the Law Offices of Daniel T. Goodwin, our personal injury attorneys are here to protect your interests. We take the worry and stress of a legal claim away from you to let you focus on what matters most: regaining your health and healing your injuries.
Call us today at 303-763-1600 to speak with one of our Broomfield personal injury attorneys.

Unavoidable Ice – Tips to Keep You Safe

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With colder weather, holidays, and ski season soon approaching, we will also be encountering dangerous icy conditions. Falling on ice is one of Colorado’s most common winter injuries and reasons for bringing a lawsuit. It takes less than two seconds from the moment that you slip to when your body hits the ground, leaving you vulnerable to serious injuries and broken bones.

Businesses in Colorado which are open to the general public have a duty to protect their patrons from dangerous ice build-up. When you’re out and about this winter, remember these following tips:

  • Stay on designated sidewalks and walkways.
  • Wear appropriate winter shoes with good traction.
  • Only walk in well-lit areas.
  • If you notice dangerous ice, tell an employee.
  • Walk slowly and keep your center of gravity over your front leg.
  • Keep your arms free to help you balance. If you are carrying heavy bags, ask an employee to help carry them to your car.