Page Updated: January 7, 2023

Los Angeles Area
Vehicle Accident Contingency Fee Lawyer

Injury Advocates Group is a no recovery no charge, contingency fee only firm. That means we only get paid if we successfully squeeze money out of the insurance company for you.

You need to know more than that, though, to ensure you hire the right lawyer to protect your rights.

If you were in a car or vehicle accident in Los Angeles and need a personal injury lawyer, you should know the answers to these questions about each lawyer’s fees before you hire them:

♦  How Much in costs or a retainer fee should you pay upfront?

What are Personal Injury Lawyer Fees California?

♦   What is the standard lawyer fee for personal injury cases?

♦   What is the standard lawyer contingency fee percentage?

♦   What is a typical litigation lawyer fee?

♦   Are lawyer fees negotiable in personal injury cases?

♦   What is a typical lawyer consultation fee?

♦   What free services should you demand?

♦   How much time do you have to shop for a lawyer after an accident?

Read below to learn the industry practice for these issues and how we operate at the Injury Advocates Group.  You are invited to review our accident claim results to understand what we bring to the table, why we charge what we charge, and how you get ahead by allowing our law firm to help you.

Alternatively, scroll below to learn all there is to know about contingency fees in motor vehicle accident cases.

Table of Contents

411 On Personal Injury Lawyer Fees

1 – No Upfront Costs or Retainer Fee

2 – Standard Personal Injury Lawyer Fee: Contingency Fee

3 – Standard Lawyer Contingency Fee Percentage

4 – Standard Litigation Lawyer Fees

5 – Are Lawyer Fees Negotiable in Personal Injury Cases?

6 – Typical Lawyer Consultation Fee

Get Help

7 – IAG’s Free Courtesy Services

8 – Time Sensitive Legal Help

Article Resources

9 – Supporting Citations, Literature & Resources

10 – About the Author

No Upfront Costs or Retainer Fee

It Costs Nothing for You to Hire Us

What does a retainer fee mean for a lawyer?  A retainer fee is how much money you have to give the lawyer before that lawyer begins working on your case.  It is sometimes referred to as a retainer deposit.

The lawyer will deposit that retainer fee into an escrow account.  As hourly work is performed, money will be withdrawn from that escrow account from your retainer fee deposit.

If you have $0 in your bank account, you can afford to retain the Injury Advocates Group personal injury law firm to represent you in your accident case.  This is because:

   We do NOT require a lawyer retainer fee

   We do NOT charge any upfront costs

   We do NOT require any credit score or financial qualification

This means there is no lawyer retainer fee to hire the Injury Advocates Group

In other words, you do not have to pay us any money upfront to cover the cost of our attorney hours and time.  The only lawyer fees we charge are contingency fees, because we are a pure contingency fee lawyer firm, which we discuss below.

Customary Lawyer Fees Concerning Retainers

This is the industry custom in personal injury cases – to not charge a retainer fee.  If a personal injury lawyer is asking you to pay a retainer fee (fn.40) and you are the injured claimant, you should be vary wary.  In our opinion, that is a predatory law firm that is operating against the industry standard.

If you are required to pay a retainer fee, or cover the costs of the litigation as it progresses, you may be priced out of hiring necessary, and top quality experts.  Your bankroll should not limit your advocacy.  This is why customary lawyer fees for personal injury cases do not include a retainer deposit.

We recommend you hire a Los Angeles personal injury law firm that operates without the requirement of a lawyer retainer fee.

Standard Personal Injury Lawyer Fee: Contingency Fee

Contingency Fee Only

The standard lawyer fee for personal injury cases is a contingency fee model.  We are in line with that standard and are a contingency fee lawyer firm.  This means 100% of the advocacy work our law firm does is contingency based.  A contingency based attorney fee means the following:

   You get to hire us for FREE, without any deposit

   We FRONT all case costs throughout the claim and litigation

   If there is no recovery there is NO FEE

The only time our law firm gets paid is when we get money from the insurance company for you.

A Contingency Lawyer Shoulders the Case Costs Until the Case Is Resolved

A contingency fee lawyer pays upfront for all the case costs as they are incurred.  A few common case costs include:

♦   Medical record requests

♦   Filing fees

♦   Process server fees

♦   Expert fees

This is by no means even close to a cumulative list of case costs.  Lawsuits are expensive.  So expensive that one study noted almost 10% of people injured in car accidents did not sue because they thought it was too expensive.

Based on the hundreds of vehicle accident cases our lawyers have handled, we know that jury trial cases for which we have to file a lawsuit result in thousands of dollars in case costs.  If more than two experts are needed, the cost is usually over $10,000.

It is industry custom and standard practice for the injured person’s lawyer to pay for these costs out of pocket.  If there is a recovery, those costs are reimbursed to the lawyer and paid to any third-parties who charged the lawyer for services that were used to benefit your case.

It bears repeating that you should not hire a motor vehicle accident attorney who asks you to cover any portion of the case costs.  That is a red flag that the law firm is not financially secure or not being fair with its clients.

The Industry Custom is Contingency Fee Only

As mentioned above, the customary lawyer fee for personal injury cases is a pure contingency fee, with no retainer deposit.

Only twice in over ten years of doing personal injury work have we ever heard of a personal injury lawyer charging a client by the hour.  This presents an unfair financial risk and legal representation limit for the client.

We strongly advise you not engage in that type of fee structure.  You should only hire a personal injury lawyer that charges a contingency fee, and stay away from any lawyer who asks you to pay by the hour or make a retainer deposit.

Additional information about standard contingency fee requirements is available for your review.

Attorney Fee - No Recovery No Fee


Personal Injury Lawyer Fees in California – Contingency or Retainer?

California, and Los Angeles, follow the industry custom mentioned above.  In Los Angeles, a motor vehicle accident attorney should only charge a contingency fee to represent clients for a personal injury claim.

We do not, and should not, charge a client any retainer or hourly fee on top of the contingency fee.  If a motor vehicle accident attorney requires any extra such charges on top of a contingency fee, that lawyer is operating outside of the contingency fee only cost model, and the client should give genuine thought to changing lawyers.

Standard Lawyer Contingency Fee Percentage

Standard Contingency Fee is 33-45.00%

The standard personal injury lawyer fee contingency percentage is between 33% to 45.00%.  It will vary depending on the case complexity and how the case resolves.

For example, nationally, the standard starting contingency fee for medical malpractice cases is 40%.  However, nationally, the standard starting contingency fee for vehicle accidents is 33.33%.

This is the model we follow, except we start at 33% for all of our vehicle accident clients instead of 33.33%.  We are reimbursed for our past years and months of work with a thirty-three percent fee of the recovery if your case resolves before filing of a lawsuit or selecting arbitration as a means of resolution.  The fee is 40% if a lawsuit is filed or arbitration selected to resolve your claim.

Personal Injury Lawyer Fees California – What is the Standard Percentage?

California is in line with the rest of the country.  In Los Angeles and elsewhere in California, attorneys charge between 33% and 45.00% as a contingency fee for representing personal injury clients.  For complex cases that go to trial, some law firms charge 50%.  These percentages serve as the framework, but case complexity is a consideration.

The Personal injury lawyer fees in California are based on the case type, and the posture of the case.

Case TypeBy case type, we refer to different types of personal injury cases, including vehicle accidents, birth injury, medical malpractice complaints about a doctor, environmental torts like the BP Gulf oil spill, and product liability.  The more complex the case type, the more likely the contingency fee will start at 40% or higher.

Case Posture. Case posture refers to where in the litigation life-cycle the case is.  Many lawyers, including the legal team at the Injury Advocates Group, will charge 33% to 33.33% as the starting contingency fee if a case resolves in the early stages of what is referred to as “pre-litigaton,” which after the accident but before filing of any lawsuit.

Going Below the Standard is Risky

Some lawyers keep the attorney fee at 1/3 even after they file a lawsuit.  A word of caution about those lawyers.  In our experience, lawyers that keep the fee at 1/3 even after they file a lawsuit usually have one goal in mind – to force you to settle.

Why do we say that?  The personal injury lawyer fee goes up after a lawsuit is filed due to thousands of dollars in litigation expenses the lawyer will incur after filing a lawsuit, and all the extra work that goes into preparing and planning for your lawsuit.

If the lawyer is not increasing the fee to account for these extra costs and efforts, how are those costs being offset?  Is the lawyer not making those extra efforts and just setting you up for a delayed settlement with no litigation advantage?  We fear the lawyer may cut corners and litigate the case on the cheap.

A word for the savvy consumer – ask your lawyer important questions, such as:

   If my case necessitates two experts (e.g., orthopedic and accident reconstruction), will you hesitate to hire them both? 

   What are the credentials of the experts you will use?

   Why do you charge ~6.5% below the custom litigation lawyer fees?

Discount Personal Injury Lawyer

One way of thinking of it is like this.  If you need socks, you can settle for the cheapest socks.  They are replaceable and you get plenty more chances to get it right.  If you need a quality injury lawyer for a car accident, you will regret trying to save a possible 6.50% in attorney fees if it results in you getting 20% or less of a recovery.

You only get once chance to get it right.  Hire a motor vehicle accident attorney who is an expert in handling car accident claims.

Standard Litigation Lawyer Fees

What are the Standard Litigation Lawyer Fees

Based on the standard fee model discussed above, you understand the fee changes when a personal injury lawyer files a lawsuit in your case.

The standard litigation contingency fee for a filed lawsuit is 40% to 45%, depending on the type and complexity of the case, and the geography of where in the country you are.

You should not pay more than this for a vehicle accident case unless there is something particularly unusual or risky about your case.

If, upon calculation, you find that you are being charged more than this, you should have a serious talk with your lawyer.

The Attorney Accept the Financial Risk, Not You

There is an understood risk for personal injury lawyers who represent the injured victim.  We take 100% of the financial risks of your case, charge no retainer, front the thousands, and sometimes tens of thousands, of dollars in case costs, and in exchange we get a measurable percentage of the money we recover for you from the insurance company.

That is why litigation lawyer fees are up to 45-50% and the fee goes up when the case moves from pre-litigation to litigation.  It is because we accept a large financial risk, and take that monetary risk off your shoulders,and the shoulders of the balance in your bank account.

With the burden and expenses placed firmly on your attorneys shoulders, and the lawyers’ fees limited by how much money she or he can squeeze out of the insurance company, your lawyer has every motivation to work tirelessly on your case to ensure you and and they achieve the greatest benefit possible.

Are Lawyer Fees Negotiable in Personal Injury Cases?

Yes, lawyer fees are negotiable in personal injury cases.

However, good lawyers and law firms will not lower their fee.  The lawyers getting great results get those results because they operate on an “all-in” philosophy on each case.  That means no cutting corners.  No taking shortcut.  No holding back.

What does that mean in real life terms?  It means working 70 hour workweeks, giving up weekends regularly, and spending tens of thousands of dollars to get you top results.

If you hire a lawyer who negotiates the fee, you should have genuine concerns about whether the lawyer will silently negotiate her or his effort commensurate with the reduction in fee.  This is why the answer is “yes” to the question of, “are lawyer fees negotiable,” but the practical answer is, “no, not if you want to get a top-shelf lawyer and have the best chance at making a top-shelf result in your case.”

If you decide to negotiate the lawyer fee, act quickly.  Do not spend days or weeks shopping around.  The first 72 hours after your accident are critical for preserving the value of your case.  You need a lawyer immediately to help with that.  If the first 3 days have passed, you have no time left to shop around.  Our motto here is, “take your time, but hurry up.”

You can learn more about negotiating a contingency fee through the foregoing link. 

Typical Lawyer Consultation Fee

100% Free Consultation

There is no lawyer consultation fee for you to speak with a lawyer at our law firm.  The initial phone call is free, with no risk and no commitment.

Of the vehicle accident victims who speak with our lawyers for a consultation, over 95% of them retain us.   You will appreciate, after that call, that we live and breach vehicle accident claims and know how to maximize your recovery.

Industry Custom on Lawyer Consultation Fee

The typical lawyer consultation fee for personal injury cases is $0.  Lawyers should not charge for a consultation fee in personal injury cases.  Period.

Some law firms will follow that standard but will only have you speak with a paralegal, even when you have a viable case.  Do not get us wrong, paralegals are very important in a law firm.  However, if you call one of those law firms, the consultation, while free, is not of meaningful value because you do not speak with a real lawyer.

When you call our firm, we first confirm you have a viable claim for which we can represent you.  That would include initial questions including determination of whether your claim deadlines have expired.  Once we confirm you have viable claim and get some basic information about your accident, you will speak directly with an Injury Advocates Group lawyer.

Nothing to Gain, Something to Lose

We are hopeful that, even if you do not hire our law firm, you will gain insights during your free conversation that will inform you on important issues.  These may include how to select a lawyer, how to avoid being scammed by a lawyer demanding a retainer fee deposit, or whether you should fire your lawyer and seek new counsel.

If you have a question and you have a phone, we are on standby to offer our help.

We Provide Clients with Free Courtesy Services

Three Courtesy Services

For all of our clients, we offer the following additional services for FREE:

♦   Negotiate reduction of medical liens or complicated Medicare liens / recovery claims

♦   Pay-off all medical balances on your behalf from the settlement

♦   Consult on resolving vehicle damage claim

Some of these are customary, and some are not.  Not all lawyers advise on resolving a vehicle damage claim without charging.  Also, not all lawyers genuinely negotiate a reduction of your medical liens.  We are different, and we’ll discuss a real case below to explain how.

We Go Overboard in Fighting Liens

Two years ago, one of our lawyers represented a client who had a disability lien related to time missed from work.  It was almost $24,000.  The disability insurance carrier contacted a lawyer on our team and asked for the lien to be paid.  There was a serious problem – if the lien was paid, it would wipe out a substantial portion of the client’s recovery.

This is how it played out:Free Lien Resolution for Clients

After brainstorming, a solution was found.  Our lawyer scrutinized the underlying disability policy and found a loophole in the policy.  The insurance carrier did not agree with our lawyer’s reading.  This resulted in a fight where an entirely separate lawsuit was filed – not a personal injury lawsuit, but a contract lawsuit – relating to the client’s obligation to pay the $24,000 disability lien.

The end result was the disability carrier giving up on the lien to avoid protracted litigation, and the automobile insurance carrier mailing a settlement check to close their file.  This outcome was anticipated, given the discovery of how to defeat the lien.

The above effort did not cost the client an extra penny in attorneys’ fees.  Those efforts accomplished only one thing – put an extra $24,000 into the client’s pocket.

Many lawyers would not undergo such efforts.  Our firm’s goal is quality, not volume and quantity.  Call and speak with us to appreciate the difference and what we offer.  We are available 24/7 to speak with you.

Do Not Make the Mistake of Waiting

You Can Afford The Best

Thanks to our contingency fee structure, your pursuit of justice will not be cut short due to your financial situation.  If you can call us, you can hire us, and have the expertise of an experienced injury lawyer on your side.

Hiring a Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney is Time Sensitive

What a lawyer can do to help you in a vehicle accident injury claim is time-sensitive.  The longer you wait after an accident before hiring an attorney, the more the value of your claim is compromised because there are things a lawyer could have done to protect your claim that cannot be done, or undone.

Do Not Wait, Call Now for Help

Have you been injured in a vehicle accident?

Do not make the mistake of waiting to hire an attorney.  Call Injury Advocates Group right now.  We will be your personal injury consultant from beginning to end, and get you the vehicle accident settlement or verdict you deserve for what you have been through because of your vehicle accident.

You can reach us using the contact form below, sending an e-mail to, or calling our toll-free line at the top of this page.

The Law of Lawyers’ Contracts Is Different, 1998, by Joseph M. Perillo, Fordham University School of Law

The American Rule on Attorney Fee Allocation: The Injured Person’s Access to Justice, by John F. Vargo

What Does the Public Really Think of Lawsuits, July 2020, by Richard P. Console, Jr.

Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.5: Fees, April 2020, by The American Bar Association

The Wages of Risk: The Returns of Contingency Fee Legal Practice, 1998, by Herbert M. Kritzer, DePaul University Law Review

Making One of the Most Brutal Jobs a Little Less Brutal: Can lawyers balance work and leisure? September 2015, by Leigh McMullan Abramson

Negotiating the Fee, January 2021, by The People’s Law Library of Maryland

Information for Lawyers: How Paralegals Can Improve Your Practice, by The American Bar Association

What is a Retainer Fee? By Legal Resources

About the Author

Article Author:  This law article was written by attorney Ray Benyamin, Esquire.  Mr. Benyamin received his Juris Doctor degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and his license to practice law from the State Bar of California.  His law license number is 277263.  He has been practicing law for 10 years.  Mr. Benyamin is a registered member of the following legal organizations: Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association (ABA), and the American Association for Justice (AAJ).  Mr. Benyamin has personally helped his clients recover over $10,000,000 in vehicle accident insurance claims in the State of California.