When seeking legal representation for a personal injury case, understanding the different fee structures employed by personal injury lawyers is important. This knowledge can help you make informed decisions and choose the best lawyer for your situation. At Kellum Law Firm, we believe in transparency and want our clients to understand how our fees work. This article will explore the various fee structures used by personal injury lawyers, with a primary focus on the contingency fee basis, which is the most common arrangement in personal injury cases.

Contingency Fee Basis

The contingency fee basis is the most prevalent fee structure used by personal injury lawyers. Under this arrangement, the lawyer’s fees are contingent upon winning the case or securing a settlement. This means that you do not have to pay any upfront fees or hourly rates; instead, the lawyer’s fee is a percentage of the compensation you receive.

How Does the Contingency Fee Basis Work?

  1. Initial Consultation: Most personal injury lawyers offer a free initial consultation to evaluate your case. During this meeting, the lawyer will explain the contingency fee agreement, discuss the merits of your case, and outline the potential compensation you might receive.
  2. Agreement: If you decide to proceed, you will sign a contingency fee agreement. This legal document details the percentage of the settlement or judgment that the lawyer will receive as their fee. In North Carolina, this percentage typically ranges from 33% to 40%, depending on the complexity of the case and whether it goes to trial.
  3. No Upfront Costs: One of the main advantages of a contingency fee arrangement is that you do not have to pay any legal fees upfront. This can be particularly beneficial if you are facing financial difficulties due to medical bills, lost wages, or other expenses related to your injury.
  4. Lawyer’s Incentive: Since the lawyer’s fee is dependent on the outcome of the case, they have a strong incentive to work diligently to secure the maximum compensation possible. This alignment of interests often leads to a more committed and aggressive representation.
  5. Expenses and Costs: In addition to the lawyer’s fee, there may be other costs associated with your case, such as court filing fees, expert witness fees, and costs for obtaining medical records. Some lawyers will cover these expenses upfront and deduct them from your settlement, while others may require you to pay these costs as they arise. It’s important to clarify this aspect in the contingency fee agreement.

Other Fee StructuresKellum Law Firm New Bern NC

While the contingency fee basis is the most common, there are other fee structures that personal injury lawyers may use. Understanding these alternatives can help you make an informed decision if the contingency fee arrangement does not suit your needs.

Hourly Rate

Under an hourly rate arrangement, the lawyer charges a fixed amount for each hour of work performed on your case. You will be billed periodically, typically on a monthly basis, and will need to pay for the hours worked regardless of the outcome of your case. This fee structure is less common in personal injury cases due to the financial burden it places on clients, especially those already dealing with injury-related expenses.

Flat Fee

In a flat fee arrangement, the lawyer charges a single, predetermined fee for handling your case. This fee is agreed upon at the beginning and does not change regardless of the time or effort required. Flat fees are more commonly used in straightforward cases where the lawyer can reasonably predict the amount of work involved. This structure is rare in personal injury cases due to their often unpredictable nature.

Retainer Fee

A retainer fee involves paying an upfront fee to secure the lawyer’s services. The lawyer then bills against this retainer at an agreed-upon hourly rate. Once the retainer is exhausted, you may need to replenish it to continue receiving legal services. This fee structure is more common in ongoing legal matters, such as business law or family law, rather than personal injury cases.

Choosing the Right Fee Structure

When selecting a personal injury lawyer, it is important to understand the fee structure they employ and how it will impact you financially. The contingency fee basis is generally the most client-friendly arrangement for personal injury cases, as it reduces financial risk and aligns the lawyer’s interests with your own.

Why Choose Kellum Law Firm?

At Kellum Law Firm, we primarily operate on a contingency fee basis for personal injury cases. We believe this approach makes high-quality legal representation accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial situation. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to fighting for the compensation you deserve, and we only get paid when you do.


If you have been injured and need legal assistance, contact Kellum Law Firm for a free consultation. We will discuss your case, explain our fee structure in detail, and help you understand your legal options. Trust us to handle your case with the dedication and expertise it deserves.

For more information about our services and fee structures, call us today at 1-800-ACCIDENT. We are here to help you through every step of your personal injury claim.

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