How Does a Maryland Accident Injury Attorney get Paid? 3 Things You Should Know

By Jeffrey Butschky, Maryland Accident Injury Attorney

If the most frequently asked question we hear is, "Why do I need a Maryland accident injury lawyer?" …then the second most asked question is, "What does an accident injury lawyer cost?" Lawyers representing people injured in motor vehicle accidents are compensated differently from attorneys handling Maryland Workers' Compensation cases.

Here are three things you should know about how Maryland personal injury lawyers get paid.

1. Most reputable injury lawyers offer a free consultation. Whether you were hurt in a car or truck accident, or while performing your job—you won't know if you have a compensable case until you contact an experienced Maryland accident injury lawyer.

The initial consultation—whether by phone or in person—should be free of charge. At this meeting, the injury attorney will ask questions about the circumstances leading up to and surrounding your auto or work accident. He or she may give you a general assessment of your case, and a strategy that he or she might pursue, should you decide to enlist their legal services.

2. Motor vehicle accident injury attorneys are paid a contingency fee. In most cases, Maryland injury lawyers representing clients hurt (or the families of those killed) in car and truck accidents charge a "contingency fee"—also known as a "no win/no fee" arrangement. This is the case in our Maryland personal injury law firm. If we recover money for you, we typically charge one-third of your insurance settlement or jury award. If we don't win, there is no charge.

A contingency fee arrangement is appealing to accident injury victims in Maryland, as they are not forced to spend precious funds for retainers, hourly billing and ongoing legal expenses.

Also, some attorneys have been known to charge clients a fee to fill out Maryland PIP forms for them. PIP stands for "Personal Injury Protection"—a type of motor vehicle insurance that policyholders in Md. may use to pay medical bills and lost wages resulting from an auto accident. (PIP may also apply to pedestrian accident victims.) The Law Offices of Butschky & Butschky, LLC do not charge a fee to fill out PIP forms for our clients.

3. Maryland Workers' Compensation lawyers' fees are set by statute. The most an injury attorney can collect from a Maryland Workers Comp case is 20 percent of the claimant's award. As the permanency award goes up, the attorney's compensation declines. (In Maryland, the "permanency award" refers to the amount of workers' compensation an injured worker is granted, based on a complex settlement structure, which factors in weeks of disability / lost work and injuries to specific body parts. This is why we recommend hiring an experienced injury attorney if you're hurt at work in Maryland!) All of this is set and governed by statute in the State of Maryland.

However, some attorneys who don't have experience with Maryland Work Comp cases may try to charge the one-third that they typically collect from auto accident injury cases. This practice will run them afoul of the Workers' Compensation Commissioners, as it is usually not allowed in the State of Maryland.

Whether it's an auto accident or a work accident case you need assistance with… Do not be shy about asking a lawyer up front about how he or she gets paid for their services. Remember, they are working for YOU.

Related Maryland Accident Injury Attorney article:

5 Reasons why You Need a Maryland Accident Injury Lawyer