There are three (3) basic ways a lawyer is paid for their services. One is a flat fee, which means the lawyer is paid one amount no matter how long the case lasts. Another way is an hourly charge, when the lawyer charges a certain amount per hour and then multiplies that amount times the number of hours pent on the case.
The third way a lawyer may charge for their services is called a Contingency Fee Agreement.
That means the attorney's fees are contingent, or dependant, on whether money is received for the client, how much money was received and at what stage of the proceedings the recovery occurred. The percentage of attorney's fees may range from 25%-45%, depending on the nature of the case and whether a trial or appeal was necessary to obtain the recovery.
Personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. If there is no recovery, the client does not have to pay their own attorney's fees.
In a civil case, the Court will require the parties to submit to mediation prior to receiving a trial date. A mediation is a process designed to settle the case and make a trial unnecessary.
At mediation, all parties, attorneys and insurance adjusters along with a mediator will meet at the same location. They will discuss the case and then the mediator will separate the parties and talk to them about the case. The mediator's job is to try and convince the parties to narrow their differences to the point where they reach a settlement and conclude the case.
Sometimes a case does not settle between the parties because they are too far apart. In that case, an impasse is declared and the case will proceed toward trial. Sometimes the case may still settle prior to trial, but that is not guaranteed.
Arbitration is often confused with mediation, but the process is different. Arbitration is similar to a trial, although less formal, presented to an arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators. At the conclusion of the evidence presented by each side, the arbitrator makes a decision as to who wins or loses the case.
If the arbitration is binding, the parties are bound by the results, whether they like it or not.
Non-binding arbitration means that the parties have some right to set aside the arbitration result and seek a trial to resolve the issues. So before you submit to arbitration, make sure to know if it is binding or non-binding.
Either party can schedule the depositions of a party or witness. The purpose of a deposition is to find out what the witness will testify about if the case proceeds to trial. It also allows the lawyers to see and evaluate that witness in person.
A deposition occurs in the presence of all the attorneys and a court reporter. The witness is placed under oath and is asked questions about their knowledge of the issues in that case. The length of the deposition will depend on how much information of the case that the witness conveys. In the average case, a deposition may last several hours.
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