Q. My lawyer wants 40% for attorney fee plus litigation costs. This worries me as to what % this might cost in the end. My wife fell in parking lot of a Kings restaurant and this resulted in a concussion. I’m worried that we may end up with a small % of the final settlement if the litigation costs are too high. Is this a normal agreement or is it too high
A. In this part of the state, normal fee agreements give 33.3% to the attorney if the case settles and 40% if it goes to trial. The norm is for the attorney to be reimbursed for his costs-expert fees, filing fees, fees charged for records, out of the settlement proceeds. So yes, the attorney would take his moneys and fees that he advanced for the case first. Then, from the balance of the remaining proceeds, he or she would take the above percentage. Normally, attorneys do not take contingency cases that will be unprofitable. Some attorneys will reduce their share if the case settles easily and for a lower dollar amount. I have lowered my fee on occasion with small settlements for which I didn’t spend a great deal of time or money and the person is in need. You can always ask.