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Thread: About Lawyers: Can anyone tell me

  1. #1
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    If you get a lawyer that doesn't collect unless he wins the suit for you, and if you don't end up winning do you pay the court cost or how does this work? A couple of my family members are interested in seeing one for my moms death. I don't think we have a case but my sister said that the lawyer she talked to said that he thinks we do. He told her that if we win he gets 50%. I can't remember what she said about the court costs. My mom lived with her and the rest of us live in other states, so she is handling this. I just hope she remembers to ask all the questions before signing any papers.

  2. #2
    Super Member sewwhat85's Avatar
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    that is a good question

  3. #3
    Super Member MellieKQuilter's Avatar
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    50%!! HOLY COW! I have seen some settlements, that after the costs are paid, then the attorney gets his cut of whats left... sometimes the people hiring the attorney get less than the attorney! A bunch of nonsense...

    Dont get me wrong.. it isnt ok for someone to do something illegal to someone else. It just seems like SOME attorneys get rich off of others misery... Not a fan.

    That being said, there are a lot of attorneys that help people and are fair and good people.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilterj
    If you get a lawyer that doesn't collect unless he wins the suit for you, and if you don't end up winning do you pay the court cost or how does this work? A couple of my family members are interested in seeing one for my moms death. I don't think we have a case but my sister said that the lawyer she talked to said that he thinks we do. He told her that if we win he gets 50%. I can't remember what she said about the court costs. My mom lived with her and the rest of us live in other states, so she is handling this. I just hope she remembers to ask all the questions before signing any papers.
    50% seems high to me. My attorney is 33% unless we go to court and then it's 40%. No charges to me unless we win/settle. Then reasonable fees and costs come off of the top. If there is an appeal, it goes to 45%.

    Her paperwork was very clear and easy to understand. She also answered all questions and made sure we were both on the same page.

  5. #5
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I used to be a bookkeeper for a small law firm. The attorney will take "costs" off the top and split the rest with you. Costs can include stupid little things like postage, faxes, parking, and purchasing things like news footage related to the case. When your sister speaks with this attorney, she should find out EXACTLY what is included in costs, and who pays filing fees and court costs especially if he doesn't win. You should also find out how many cases like this he's handled, and you need to know his win/loss record. Check with the bar association in his area to make sure he doesn't have any unresolved complaints.

  6. #6
    Super Member JudyG's Avatar
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    Any fee agreement you sign should set out any and all costs you would have to pay. Usually the client would be expected to pay any costs which had to be paid out, but that should be specified clearly in the fee agreement. 50% seems high to me also. Contingent fee agreements usually start at 33-1/3% if settled before a lawsuit has to be filed, 40% if a lawsuit is filed but doesn't go to court and 45-50% if a case actually is tried in the courts. This should also be clearly set out in your fee agreement.

  7. #7
    Junior Member OCQuilts's Avatar
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    Its a catch 22......paying an attorney to fight a case will cost so much upfront, its too much risk. So another attorney takes the riskier case, but takes all of the money. My husband recently got an attorney to sue a dishonest bill collector who was harassing him to get to his son. The settlement was $3500. My husband is to get $800. But.......he hasn't seen a penny of that yet!

  8. #8
    Super Member Glassquilt's Avatar
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    Read the fine print - twice and then again

  9. #9
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    I don't know about the court costs but 50% seems high to me! I sued on behalf of my foster son and his lawyer charged 40% plus expenses and even with the 40% he still got more than my foster son did after he charged for expenses.

  10. #10
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish
    I used to be a bookkeeper for a small law firm. The attorney will take "costs" off the top and split the rest with you. Costs can include stupid little things like postage, faxes, parking, and purchasing things like news footage related to the case. When your sister speaks with this attorney, she should find out EXACTLY what is included in costs, and who pays filing fees and court costs especially if he doesn't win. You should also find out how many cases like this he's handled, and you need to know his win/loss record. Check with the bar association in his area to make sure he doesn't have any unresolved complaints.
    I agree with this -- also - she should make it plain that she expects an ITEMIZED list of expenditures. I had an atty once that did barely anything and charged me $300.00 for postage (that was 30 yrs ago!!!). Yeah, right -- when I said I wanted it itemized, the price dropped to $50. or so!!!

  11. #11
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    It depends on how far your sister intends to take the case. A friend of mine filed a law suit against a pharmaceutical company (not a class action). The company offered a settlement but he refused it because he wanted to win. 4 years later he won but by then the expenses of the attorney had gone so high that he had to take a personal loan to pay the lawyer. He won the case and got nothing but debt.

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    My sister is in that same boat. Her class action law suit says that she will pay nothing, and if they win (they obviously expect to win) they will get over 40 percent. But sister says that since she started with nothing and only found out about this medicine's side effects, she is still ahead of the game.
    She had had many side effects that no one had ever mentioned was caused by this medicine for ..I think gastric reflux or something like that. It was SUPPOSED to be taken for only 5 weeks or so, but 3 doctors continued it for 30 YEARS! And only when the last one was leaving town did he phone her and casually mention that it might be a good idea to stop it. So when she saw the TV mention that drug, she called them..all doctors' records were still intact and a court order got them opened.

  13. #13
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    My sister is in that same boat. Her class action law suit says that she will pay nothing, and if they win (they obviously expect to win) they will get over 40 percent. But sister says that since she started with nothing and only found out about this medicine's side effects, she is still ahead of the game.

  14. #14
    Super Member trisha's Avatar
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    50%???? Are you kidding? Of course he is going to try and get everything he can, but what will all of you end up with?

  15. #15
    Super Member Podunk Princess's Avatar
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    I've worked in the legal field for over 20 years. The 50% lawyer fee is rather high. Most charge 33-1/3% or 40% and it goes up from there depending on whether it goes to trial or goes up on appeal after the trial. What you need to inquire about is the costs. You will probably be charged for copies, color copies, faxes, postage, long distance phone calls, parking, courier fees and on-line research services. Discuss these items with the attorney and possibly negotiate a lower rate for at least the copying. You'd be surprised how many photocopies are made during the litigation process, which could take up to two years to go to trial. Some firms are starting to charge for every page printed off their computers, too. Make sure you get a written fee agreement and that everything is spelled out for you.

    In most civil actions experts have to be retained to prove your case. Those expert fees will run in the thousands of dollars. If a doctor's deposition or trial testimony is taken, the doctor will charge by the hour for his time reviewing medical records and testifying. Court reporter fees will be charged to you. These types of fees can really add up and you are responsible for them.

    Most of all, be sure you actually do have a good solid case. Get a second opinion if you are in any doubt. As someone else advised, check the reputation and Bar status of the lawyer before you retain him/her also. Lawsuits can be very stressful for all parties involved. It's not as easy as it looks on TV. It's not a "lottery" or "windfall" in a lot of cases. But if you truly feel you have a STRONG case, go for it.

  16. #16
    Super Member Podunk Princess's Avatar
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    Oops...double post....sorry.

  17. #17
    Super Member Charming's Avatar
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    My understanding of such cases is that the lawyer will not take the case unless with this payment method unless he guarantees it. So your sister should not be responsible for anything, even if he doesn't win.

    50% is a rip off really. The norm is 30-35%

  18. #18
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    Check the state board of attorneys and see what fees for different service. 33% is what I've always heard.

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