Common Misconceptions Regarding Auto Accident Litigation in California
Interviewer: What are some of the misconceptions you see that the public has about the accidents, the attorneys – that you’ve noticed when people call you?
Richard Sailer: A lot of times people are reluctant to get an attorney involved because they think it’s going to cost them money, they think it’s going to be an expensive process. A lot of times people don’t realize that attorneys take these matters on a contingency basis so there’s no upfront cost or obligations to client. So I think that’s the misconception that I hear often – people think they can’t afford an attorney or that they don’t need representation.
Most People Do Not Know That Auto Accident Cases Are Handled on a Contingency Basis
Interviewer: Are you surprised that people don’t even that auto-accident cases are on contingency?
Richard Sailer: I do get that question a lot of times when I’m first talking with a client. A lot of times their concern is, ‘well what is this going to cost me?’ and ‘can I afford to get an attorney?’ and obviously I explain to them that these type of cases are handled on a contingency basis. That we would front any cost or expenses in connection with the case and we don’t get paid unless they get paid.
Personal Injury Attorneys Typically Charge 25-40% as Fees in a Contingency Based Case
Interviewer: What’s the typical expense ratio at the back-end of the case? How much will the person get; how much will the attorney get?
Richard Sailer: Our fees range from 25-40 percent and it just depends on the circumstances of the case, and typically we try to do what we need to do on our end to make sure that there’s a fair distribution of the money at the end of the case. If we need to cut our fee to make sure that the client’s happy, sometimes that happens. It’s really hard to say without knowing the exact particulars of the case; what the medical expenses are, what the damage to the vehicle is, and what the ultimate settlement is going to be.
It is Important for a Personal Injury Attorney to Properly Screen a Client and Examine the Facts Before Taking the Case
Interviewer: As the attorney are there any necessities to doing the case without getting any money? Like you’re going to have to be spending money on people, your time, and maybe hire legal experts – it’s not easy to spend a lot of money investing in someone’s case and never get paid?
Richard Sailer: Yes that is true and sometimes that does happen. That’s why it’s so important that at the front end of the case, that we do a good job in screening the client, examining the facts, and making sure that there is a case so we can assure ourselves that we’re not just spinning our wheels and spending time and money on a claim that’s not a valid case.