It can be difficult to know how much to pay for legal services if you have little or no experience hiring a lawyer after a personal injury. The years of legal training and experience help to determine the lawyer’s best hourly and percentage fee. Here are a few case examples to help understand what is reasonable for the legal fees of a personal injury lawyer.
Percentage legal fees in the range of 33% have been recognized by Canadian courts as reasonable…Indeed, for a complex product liability case a fee of up to 40% is permissible…(Wilson v. Depuy International Ltd.,2018 BCSC 1192). This applies to class action law suits and other personal injury claims. Encouraging top injury lawyers to take on the risk of these cases will often justify a higher percentage.
The class members agreed to a 33% fee in the Wilson class action case. With an out of court settlement the lawyers agreed to a contingency fee of 25% due to the fact that the defendant had proposed to pay $275,000 in fees immediately. A 25% contingency fee was reasonable as the settlement was negotiated prior to certification, without the need for any preliminary motions, and without having taken any formal discovery.
In a car accident case the client hired a personal injury lawyer to represent her in relation to two motor vehicle accidents. The contingency agreement was for up to 33 1/3 percent in the event that the matter proceeded to trial, and a lower rate depending on where the case progressed in the litigation process at the point of its resolution.
The client terminated the relationship with the lawyer and settled the case on her own. The court confirmed the lawyers agreement of 331/3 % was fair and reasonable and the lawyer’s subsquent bill after termination of 32% was fair and reasonable as he had done most of the work needed to achieve settlement. The lawyer was also awarded his costs.(Bokova v. Gertsoyg & Company,2016 BCSC 2297)
When a lawyer is highly experienced in personal injury with many years of experience in the field and higher percentage may be warranted, especially if the case involved complex legal and evidentiary issues.
Watch our short video to learn more about how injury lawyers are paid in BC.