Interviewer: Do you have any special ability to help people with medical bills, maybe negotiate them down so that when they get a settlement, they’ll have some extra money?
Nicholas Lowe: Yes. When the case is over, we look at the medical bills, we look at the amount of the settlement, we look at the fees and costs and our goal is to put money in the client’s pocket. If the fees are too high and there’s not enough money after medical bills, we frequently reduce our fees. If the medical bills are too high and an insurance company or a jury didn’t consider them as part of the settlement, then we call those doctors and we negotiate those bills. Some doctors are very good about it and they’ll negotiate easily, some flatly refuse and then everything in-between. It’s really a case by case basis but we will call and try to get doctors to accept a reasonable amount so that we can put more money in the client’s pocket.
Personal Injury Attorneys Generally Get Paid on a Contingency Basis
Interviewer: Do people know that you take cases on contingency and they only pay out of the winnings in the case to you?
Nicholas Lowe: Some people understand that and some don’t. The way it works is we advance all the costs in the case. For example, it costs just around $500 to file a lawsuit, it costs about $100 to serve somebody with the lawsuit. Every deposition you take costs $500, retaining doctors costs money, subpoenaing records costs money. We advance all the costs and when the case is over, we repay ourselves any out of pocket expenses we’ve incurred and then the client gets a percentage of the money available and we take our percentages. If we don’t win the case, we don’t make any money. It also becomes good when we’re negotiating the case. Clients understand that the more money we get them, the more money we make, it’s a true partnership. They believe and understand that we work really hard to get them money not only for them but for ourselves.
The Costs Incurred When Trying A Personal Injury Case on a Contingency Basis
Interviewer: How much you have to advance in a case to get to a resolution on average to ballpark?
Nicholas Lowe: Let me break cases down in small, medium and large. Small cases, let’s say, cases under $50,000, cost can go anywhere from 3 to 4 grand minimum on the bottom to 10 or 15 on the top end. As an attorney, you can’t outspend the value of the case. If the case is worth 50 grand, I certainly can’t spend 75,000 to pursue it because that’s a no win for the client, so we have to treat a Volkswagen like a Volkswagen. On the smaller cases, we try to keep the cost down as much as we can but they are always 3, 4, 5, 10 grand. A medium case, $50,000 to $200,000, the costs are going to be more, they’re going to be 10 to 20, $30,000.
The Majority of the Costs Go towards Procuring Expert Witnesses for Trial
On the larger cases, half a million dollars and up, it’s not unusual to have $100,000 plus cost on the case. Most of the costs are incurred by hiring experts and experts can be reconstruction experts, they can be biomechanical experts, they can be medical experts, they can be rehabilitation experts, they can be economists, life care planners. There’s more experts than we know what to do with and they all cost a lot of money. So, we have to evaluate every case, is it worth hiring this expert? If the expert costs us 5 grand, are we going to see a dividend from that? So, those are some of the things we have to consider.
Attorneys Mostly Take 23 to 30 Percent of the Settlement in a Personal Injury Case
Interviewer: What’s the typical percentage that you take as an attorney when you resolve a case?
Nicholas Lowe: Most attorneys here are on a one-third contingency where they take 23 per cent of the settlement and 66 per cent goes to the client. If the case goes to trial, it goes to 40 per cent. If the client is a minor, meeting under the age of 18, then the fee is 25 per cent and that’s pretty uniform throughout the town.