When considering legal fees for a personal injury or wrongful death lawyer in Kentucky or Tennessee, you need to know some terminology. A “fee” is what the lawyer charges. A “cost” is an expense item, such as court costs, mileage expenses, medical record retrieval fees, etc. By law, any fee I charge to you must be in writing. You will always know exactly how I will charge you. Many lawyers charge 40% just to take a case. I do not.
The amount of legal fee I charge is based on a percentage of money recovered in your case. This type of fee is called a contingent fee because the legal fee is contingent on the lawyer recovering money for you. In a contingent fee, if I recover nothing, then you owe me nothing, and that includes all case expenses I have in your case. In other words, if I spend $15,000 in your case and lose your case, then you owe me nothing. I do not take a case to lose it, but when you hire me, I don’t want you to worry about paying me. The risk of not getting paid is on me, not you. And because I have more cases than just yours, I know that if I fight hard, then I will feed my family at the end of the day.
I do not spend money on expensive TV ads. Before I would spend money for expensive TV ads, I would spend that money to win your case. And so, at my firm, the hidden “costs” of advertising on TV are not going to be passed on to you.
In the typical case settled out of Court, I charge a fee of 33% from the total of all money I recovered. There are some exceptions, but for purposes of our discussion here, I typically charge 33% if the case is settled out of Court. If your case is settled after a lawsuit is filed, but before trial, I charge a 35% contingency fee and if your case goes to trial, then I charge a 40% contingency fee. My contingency fee comes “off the top” which means my contingency fee is based on the total amount of money I recover for you. In addition to my contingency fee, I advance costs as necessary and keep a record of the date, a description of the cost advanced and the amount charged. These case expenses are paid in addition to the contingency fee. For example, if I pay $375 to file your lawsuit, then I advance that cost so it does not come out of your pocket, but when your case is resolved, I itemize my fees and costs to the penny and subtract these case expenses out of the money you recover. In 25+ years of law practice, I have accounted for every penny of my client’s money.