The Truth about Contingency Fee Personal Injury Lawyers

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George Patterson is Board Certified as a
Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

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Please contact the personal injury lawyers, George Patterson and Maria Patterson to schedule a free consultation to discuss your personal injury case.

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The Bowie, car accident lawyers at Reinstein, Glackin, Patterson and Herriott handle almost all car accident cases on a one-third contingency fee basis plus costs with a free consultation.  A contingency fee is a fee that is contingent on the outcome of the case.  In a contingency fee car accident case, the client would not owe a legal fee unless the attorney obtained a recovery.  The terms of the contingency fee agreement are detailed in a retainer agreement and this web page is not meant to be a substitute for the written contingency fee retainer agreement.   Many injury clients focus on whether a free consultation is offered.  The contingency fee lawyers at RGPH offer free consultations.  Contingency fee lawyers generally offer free consultations.  The customer should focus on the contingency fee terms and not the free consultation.  Free consultations are normally offered by personal injury lawyers because the lawyer needs the consultation to determine whether the lawyer believes the case should be pursued.  Other lawyers may have contingency fees of 40% or contingency fees that increase if a complaint has to be filed or the case has to be tried.

The personal injury contingency fee agreements offered by Bowie car accident lawyers,
George Patterson and Maria Patterson do not have escalating contingency fees.   The low flat contingency fees offered by the Bowie car accident lawyers encourage clients to settle their car accident cases only if a strong offer is made.  Car accident clients facing a contingency fee that rises if suit is filed may feel additional pressure to accept an inadequate settlement for their car accident case.

Escalating contingency fees are not offered by personal injury lawyers Mark Kohl, George and Maria Patterson for car accident cases because they place pressure on clients to settle.  An experienced insurance adjuster will typically offer an amount that is less than what they expect the injured party to receive in a personal injury trial.  The insurance adjuster makes this offer believing that the injured party will consider the settlement offer to avoid the delay, expense and inconvenience of a trial.  A contingency fee that rises when suit is filed increases the pressure on the client to settle. 

The proceeds that a client receives after legal fees, costs and medical bills are paid is critical to evaluating a settlement offer.  A client may be offered $10,000 to settle a case where $2,000 of medical bills are still owed and $100 of costs were incurred.  At RGPH the client would receive $4,567.00 after paying a contingency fee of one-third, paying costs and unpaid medical bills.  If the client rejects the offer and at trial a verdict of $12,000 was issued, the RGPH client would receive $5,900 after the legal fee, costs and unpaid medical bills were paid.  At a law firm that has an escalating contingency fee that rises to 40% if suit is filed, the same client would receive $5,100 after the legal fee, unpaid medical bills and costs were paid.  This example illustrates that a client facing an escalating contingency fee may feel compelled to consider an unreasonably low offer from an insurance company.

The costs that are incurred in a car accident case vary depending mainly on whether the case ends up being tried in front of a jury with experts testifying or whether the case may be tried in front of a judge without experts.  The Bowie car accident lawyers, George Patterson, Mark Kohl and Maria Patterson advance all costs that they recommend be incurred in car accident cases.  The Bowie car accident lawyers know how to minimize litigation costs.  These costs are ultimately the client's responsibility and are deducted from the recovery after the contingency fee.  George Patterson, Mark Kohl and Maria Patterson offer free consultations for personal injury cases and can discuss the costs that typically have to be incurred in most car accident cases and those expenses that can be avoided.

Questions to Ask a Contingency Fee Lawyer:
1. Will you still be my lawyer if the case does not settle?


This is a critical question.  There are some car accident lawyers that will meet with you, attempt to settle your case and if they are unsuccessful they will send your case for a lawyer outside of their firm to try.  The two lawyers would then split the fee if the case resulted in a verdict.  The client should be aware that the lawyer you retained may collect 40% of a settlement but only 20% of a verdict if the case is sent to another lawyer to file suit.  Consider the following numbers in a hypothetical personal injury claim:
A. Your personal injury case is estimated to result in a verdict of $10,000 to $14,000 about 80% of the time it is tried.
B. The insurance Company has offered you $8,000 as their final offer.
C. Your lawyer can either collect 40% of $8,000 ($3,200) or 20% of $10,000 ($2,000) to $14,000 ($2,800). 

2. How many car accident trials have you tried?

There are many lawyers that practice in several areas, like family law, real estate, contracts and criminal law.  An experienced lawyer is important but the experience with trying your type of case is the most important experience.  The car accident lawyers at RGPH have tried over 200 jury trials and over 1,000 judge trials.

3. Have your fellow lawyers and local judges recognized you as a lawyer with the highest level of skills and ethics?

There are certain honors like and AV rating, Board Certification, and selection to certain organizations that require positive reviews from Judges and fellow lawyers.  You will want to select a lawyer that is respected by the Court that will hear your case and is respected by the opposing lawyer.  The personal injury department at RGPH includes a Board Certified civil trial advocate, two top 100 Maryland Super Lawyers, one Top 50 Maryland female Super Lawyer, and two top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers.

4. Have you ever lost a trial?

The answer for the car accident lawyers at this firm is yes.  Trials are risky but every trial lawyer needs to be prepared and willing to take a case to trial even if it is a difficult trial.  A lawyer that has never lost a case may have this record due to a lack of experience, a history of terminating representation when cases become difficult, settling cases for less than they are worth, or sending cases that need to be tried to other lawyers.  A lawyer that is not afraid to take a case to trial is a lawyer that inevitably will lose a trial. 

5. Why does the contingency fee go up if you have to file suit?

This should be asked of any lawyer that increases the contingency fee from 1/3 to 40% if a lawsuit has to be filed.  The following example that is not factoring in litigation costs will explain why you should ask the question:

You have finished treatment and you still owe $3,000 for medical treatment to the doctor.  The insurance company has issued their final offer of $8,000.  The lawyer has told you that you can settle the case and walk away with  $2,333.36 ($8,000 - $2,666.66 legal fee - $3,000 unpaid medical bills).  If you want him to file suit your case will likely attain a verdict of $8,500 to $10,500.   Your net recover with the higher legal fee will then be $2,100 ($8,500 - $3,400 legal fee - $3,000 unpaid medical bills) $3,300 ($10,500 - $4,200 legal fee - $3,000 unpaid medical bills).  The escalating contingency fee made a settlement that was for $500 to $2,500 less than the likely verdict worth considering.  This is particularly true when you factor in the additional costs, uncertainty and delay of a trial. 

Bowie car accident lawyers, George Patterson, Mark Kohl and Maria Patterson have handled all of their Maryland car accident cases through trial.  It is important to ask any car accident lawyer whether they will be the one that tries your case, if a trial is necessary.  Mark Kohl, George and Maria Patterson have tried over 200 jury trials and hundreds of judge trials.  Car accident lawyer George Patterson is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.   Please review the
verdicts and settlements page for a sample of their car accident and personal injury cases.  Please call the contingency fee, Bowie car accident lawyers, Mark Kohl, George and Maria Patterson at 301-383-1525 to schedule a free consultation.  For 24 hour assistance please call the personal injury line at 240-893-7474.  Free consultations are also offered to many potential clients at the hospital or at home.

The top rated and low contingency fee lawyers at RGPH are located in Bowie, Maryland in Prince George's County and Rockville, Maryland in Montgomery County. 


The contingency fee and free consultation car accident lawyers at Reinstein, Glackin, Patterson & Herriott serve clients in Prince George's, Montgomery, Calvert, Charles, St. Mary's, Howard, Anne Arundel, Queen Anne's and Baltimore Counties. Our clients are from Silver Spring, Upper Marlboro, Bowie, Forestville, Prince Frederick, Leonardtown, Annapolis, Edgewater, Rockville, Bethesda, Germantown, Oxon Hill, College Park, Takoma Park, Beltsville, Deale, Severna Park, Largo, Crofton, Columbia and Landover.
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