Myth #2: Trial Attorneys Charge Outrageous Hourly Fees and Leave Victims With Nothing If They Don’t Win
Lawyers who represent victims of accidents and medical malpractice work on a contingency basis, not an hourly basis. The contingency the attorney needs to meet is to win the case. If the victim is not paid, the attorney is paid nothing. When he does win, he charges a percentage of the recovery, usually between 33.33% and 40%. The balance goes to the client, doctors and for costs.
Compare this to the defense attorneys. They are paid hourly for everything they do. Defense attorneys get paid regardless of the outcome. The more they "churn" a file with frivolous motions, the more depositions they take, the more they force cases into litigation and trial, the more THEY are paid. Not your attorney who is fighting for you.
For over 200 years, the contingency fee system has provided Americans from all walks of life with effective and vigorous representation of their claims, both large and small. This provides a degree of access to justice that is unheard of in most other countries in the world. Our system allows people who do not have the means to pay much in the way of legal fees to retain the best and brightest lawyers on a contingency fee basis. In personal injury and death cases, being able to hire a good attorney has made a positive difference in the lives of countless people who would otherwise not be able to win aganst the insurance, business and government interests that stand against them.