Motorcycle Attorney Fees – What You Need to Know.
Every injured motorcyclist that has had the misfortune to be involved in a motorcycle accident has probably complained that their attorney's fees for handling the motorcycle injury case were too high. As a practicing trial attorney I agree—sometimes attorney fees are too high—let me explain.
I had a biker come into my office complaining that his lawyer (not me) was gouging him on the attorney fee to handle his motorcycle injury case that he had been involved in the year prior. He had his fee agreement between him and this other attorney. Essentially the contract read as follows:
Attorney fee will be calculated as follows:
- If case settled within 2 weeks – 25%
- If case settled within 6 weeks – 35%
- If case settled within 12 weeks – 40%
- If case settled within 24 weeks – 45%
- If case settled within 48 weeks – 50%
- If trial is necessary – 60%
It had taken this other attorney just short of a year to get the case settled so the attorney fee was 50%–FIFTY PERCENT! So you might be asking yourself, “Is that attorney fee too high, too low (I doubt it), or just right (to quote Goldilocks)?” Let's talk about it…
First of all, the attorney fee comes right off the top, meaning, in this case, because the case was settled for $50,000, the other attorney made $25,000—right off the top. This, my friends, is an unfair fee! It is unfair and the structure of the agreement overall is unfair for a number of reasons:
- The pressure to settle the case based on time virtually ensures that the case will not be settled for full value.
- Seldom do cases settle quickly—especially where there may be some fault on the motorcyclist. The low percentages are probably used as an inducement for the client to “sign” with the lawyer.
- The 60% fee, if trial is necessary, virtually guarantees that the client would receive very little money, if any at all, after all the smoke clears.
- It is just too damn high!
We routinely see attorney fees for handling motorcycle injury cases ranging from 38% to 45% regardless of whether the case is settled early or goes to trial. The fee at Utah Bike Law is 33%–regardless of how quick or how long it takes to settle the case or whether we decide to take you case to trial. We think this is fair because cases seldom settle quickly; we meticulously prepare every case; and, if necessary, take cases to trial.
We prepare every motorcycle accident case as if the case were going to trial. We do this because that is the only way to convey to the insurance companies that we will take nothing less than full value for the claim. If your attorney is not ready, willing, and able to go to trial you will never receive the full value of your case in settlement. By “ready” we mean the attorney/law firm has the resources. By “willing” we mean the attorney has experience and a love for trial work. By “able” we mean the attorney has actually tried cases in court and won. This is because insurance companies know the attorneys that are, and are not, ready, willing, and able to take your case to trial. The insurance companies in Utah know that George Tait at Utah Bike Law is always ready, willing, and able to take any case to trial. In so doing we charge a reasonable fee to secure the best settlements and verdicts for our clients.
Utah Bike Law is a motorcycle injury law firm and its lawyers who ride are dedicated to representing injured motorcycle riders and their families. If you or a loved one were involved in a motorcycle crash anywhere in the United States we invite you to call for a free confidential consultation. There is no obligation and you are not charged any fees whatsoever unless we recover money for you.
Photo Credit: https://www.corlessbarfield.com/2017/02/proposals-for-settlement/