Continuing on in this comprehensive article series on the Lawsuit Settlement process in Oklahoma, Oklahoma City injury attorney Travis Charles Smith explains how lawyer fees are calculated in all cases accepted by TCS Law Firm.
Oklahoma Injury Lawyer charges a contingency fee (or commission), meaning the Client pays the Lawyer only if the Lawyer recovers money for the Client
I handle all of my lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. That means my fee is contingent upon the outcome. I do not charge hourly fees and I only get paid if the client gets paid. In other words, I get paid based on my performance as a Lawyer. How much I make depends on how much the client makes.
If the lawsuit is unsuccessful, then the client does not owe me. My clients can rely on my acceptance of their case as an indicator that I believe in the merits of their cause, which is why I take on the risk of investing my money in their case, knowing that my clients won’t owe me if I don’t win.
Oklahoma injury lawyer charges different levels of fees depending on complexity of case
My contingency fee is a percentage on the net proceeds recovered, similar to a commission. The percentage ranges from one-third to one-half, depending on a variety of factors. I charge a higher fee (%) on cases that are more difficult to prove, and therefore are a more risky investment of time and money. Usually if I charge 50%, it is on a case that other attorneys in Oklahoma City would be unwilling to accept. At the same time, I am more willing to push cases to trial than many other lawyers, which means I usually get larger settlements, because the biggest settlement offers come right before trial.
How a lawsuit settlement in Oklahoma is broken down between the Client and Lawyer
As I said, my fee is based on the net amount recovered. Here is how that breaks down:
- First you have the gross amount.
- Then you deduct litigation expenses.
- After expenses are deducted, you have the net amount. My fee is percentage of the net amount. The rest goes to the client.
- The Client, however, may have outstanding medical bills, or liens resulting from unpaid medical bills. Those items are deducted from the Client’s portion of the settlement.
The client may owe significant amounts to hospitals or doctors for medical bills. If the Client had health insurance coverage that paid the medical bills, then the Client may be liable for reimbursement to the health insurance carrier. This is called insurance subrogation.
How we do it: We pay the client first, then take care of any outstanding subrogation and liens related to medical bills
The client is responsible for paying these items out of their portion of the settlement. But we assist the client by handling those matters and immediately giving the client access to their remaining funds. This is how we handle it at my office:
First, we take the client’s net amount (their portion minus all liens/subrogation) and write a check to the client. The client is free to cash this check immediately.
Next, we send payment for any liens directly to the lien holder in the form of a check written out of our client trust account.
Last, we contact other interested parties that are entitled to funds but have not filed liens. We then try to negotiate down medical bills and insurance subrogation. Whatever discount we can get saves the client money, and that’s more money in the client’s pocket. If we are able to get the amount owed discounted (and in writing), we immediately send payment for the discounted amount. We then send the remainder back to the client.
In our next post, we will discuss what type of expenses to expect in a lawsuit.