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Do I Have to Pay my Personal Injury a Retainer

Posted by Yari Lawson | Feb 19, 2023 | 0 Comments


Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis.  This means that a personal injury lawyer's compensation for his or her representation of injured clients is determined by (contingent) the ability to settle your case or obtain a jury verdict.

Say for an example, you hire Lawson Law, P.C. for your personal injury case.  You never have to pay us a retainer fee.  In fact, you will never have to write us a check or pay us a fee out of your pocket for anything.  Let's also say, at the conclusion of your case, we are able to obtain a total settlement amount of $100,000.00 for your case.  Lawson Law, P.C. is paid thirty-three (33%) of your total settlement as an attorney fee.  That fee is taken once the insurance company has sent a settlement check to the Lawson Law Firm for your settlement.


In most cases, attorneys require up front retainer fees that obligate clients to pay the agreed upon retainer fee prior to the attorney starting representation.  For instance, in divorce cases or criminal cases, lawyers require the agreed upon retainer fee to be paid in order for the lawyer to officially start representation.  If the client is unable to write a check or otherwise cause funds to be transferred to the lawyer, the lawyer will not accept employment for the client.

Lawyers working on contingency fee basis, do not require fees to be paid up front.  The lawyer is taking the risk that there will be financial compensation on the back end and the lawyer will be entitled to the agreed upon attorneys fees amount stated in the retainer agreement once the case has settled.

Note: it is unethical for a lawyer to agree to a contingency fee structure in a divorce or criminal law case.  Finally, while it is not unethical for a lawyer in a personal injury case being paid on a contingency basis to accept money up front for a retainer fee, it is largely unheard of.  It would definitely be a red flag if a personal injury lawyer required a client to pay any money up front or at all for any portion of the personal injury case.

If you have any questions, about your personal injury case or how our fee structure works at Lawson Law Firm, P.C., do not hesitate to give us a call today about your personal injury matter.

About the Author

Yari Lawson

Yari D. Lawson is a native of Eatonton, Georgia . He is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta , GA. Yari received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, School of Law.  Yari focuses his practice primarily on personal injury. Before going into private practice, Y...


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