Contingent Fee Representation
Although we are required by the Missouri Bar to advise our clients that they are free to pay for our services upon an hourly basis ($300.00/hr), virtually all of our personal injury clients prefer that we represent them upon a contingent fee basis. Simply stated, this means that our fee is contingent upon (depends on) winning a settlement or court judgment for you. You owe us no fee unless we collect money for you.
In addition to our fee being contingent upon winning, The Glassman Law Firm, P.C. advances the expenses necessary to prepare your case. These expenses typically include the following:
- Police and accident reports
- Medical records
- Court filing fees and subpoenas
- Expert witness fees
These legal expenses can range from a few hundred dollars in a modest case where no lawsuit is filed (the claim is settled based upon documented damages submitted with our demand letter) to tens of thousands of dollars in a medical malpractice or product liability case (where numerous expert witnesses are employed to review, evaluate and testify regarding the cause and extent of injury).
Pursuant to the ethical rules of the Missouri Bar, legal expenses are a client's responsibility. However, we realize that many injured people are unable to work and suffer financial stress as a result of their physical injuries. They are unable to pay expenses to retain expert witnesses and pursue their case. Therefore, The Glassman Law Firm, P.C. usually advances the case expenses from its own account. These expenses will be reimbursed to us at the time we procure a settlement or judgment on your behalf. If we do not recover a judgment, at our option, and depending upon your situation, we may ask you to repay all or part of these expenses.
The contingent fee contract has been referred to as the "poor man's key to the courthouse." Were it not for the fact that we advance the expenses of the case, sometimes not being reimbursed for years, many victims of serious personal injury would never have the opportunity or right to pursue fair compensation for their injuries, because they could not afford to do so.
If you or someone you know has a serious personal injury and is looking for a dedicated law firm to help pursue the case, you can be sure that the attorneys at The Glassman Law Firm, P.C. will help by advancing all necessary expenses to see that your rights are protected and you are awarded just compensation.
When you contact us by phone or e-mail, we will schedule a free consultation with you to discuss your case. If, after this free consultation, you decide to hire The Glassman Law Firm, P.C. to represent you, we will invest our time, money and efforts in producing the best possible outcome for you. We will ask you to sign a contingent fee contract which contains a no recovery/no fee provision (see sample contract). If we recover money damages for you by settlement or court judgment, you will pay a percentage of your recovery to us as a fee, in addition to reimbursing our out-of-pocket expenses. In more modest cases, we can often settle them without having to file a lawsuit. In such cases, our contingent fee is typically one-third of the amount covered.
If we do not receive a fair settlement offer from the opposing insurance company, and you wish to pursue the claim in court, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf. Once a lawsuit is filed, we submit written questions to be answered under oath by the defendants called "Interrogatories." We then serve the defendant with a Request for Production of Documents in order to compel them to submit certain evidence and documents to us so that we can further prepare your case. After this initial discovery is completed, we will question the adverse parties and their witnesses under oath. This testimony is recorded by a certified court reporter and is known as a "Deposition." If your case does not settle following the depositions, we will retain and secure reports from expert witnesses who will either testify in person or by giving video depositions in court. As the case nears trial, we will file motions with the court in order to outline the issues in your case and determine what evidence will be admissible. Once you authorize us to pursue your claim by filing a lawsuit, these are the stages of preparation that we go through. Based upon this intensive effort, once a lawsuit is filed, the contingent fee is 40% of any amount recovered on your behalf.
After a trial, any party dissatisfied with the outcome can file an appeal. This is usually a one to three year process which requires us to pay a court reporter to transcribe the entire trial testimony into transcript form. We will then undertake extensive legal research and compile a legal brief to submit to the Court of Appeals, listing and explaining all of our legal arguments and case precedents to support our position. We will then appear before a panel of appellate judges to argue the legal points raised in the appeal.
We can usually expect a ruling on the appeal from the Missouri Court of Appeals within 1 - 1½ years, either affirming the judgment (allowing it to stand) or reversing it (causing us to retry the case).
A party who is dissatisfied with the decision by the Missouri Court of Appeals can then file a further appeal in the Missouri Supreme Court. The entire briefing process is again required, and we appear before the Missouri Supreme Court in Jefferson City to present arguments in the case. In the event of an appeal (only about 1% of all cases), the extensive legal work we undertake requires us to charge a 50% contingent fee on any amount recovered.
The Glassman Law Firm, P.C. would be honored to represent you. Please contact us if you have any questions about your injury claim or any aspect of the contingent fee contract.