One of the biggest concerns injury victims have about hiring a lawyer is the potential cost of legal fees, especially when they are already dealing with expenses from their accident.

You may wonder if the at-fault party can be made to pay your attorney fees as part of your settlement. The short answer is sometimes, but there are very specific circumstances under Louisiana law where this may apply.

Understanding whether attorney fees can be included in your settlement and how Louisiana personal injury lawyers are paid can provide a clear financial perspective for your case.

When Can Attorney Fees Be Included in a Settlement?

In most personal injury cases in Louisiana, you can’t collect attorney fees from the at-fault party as part of your settlement or award. Louisiana law is similar to the American Rule, which states that litigants are responsible for their attorney’s fees, regardless of the case’s outcome. However, there are some exceptions where you could recover lawyers’ fees in other types of civil lawsuits:

  • Contractual Agreements: Under Louisiana Statute 51:1562, certain types of contracts may contain fee-shifting provisions that require the losing party to pay the reasonable attorney fees of the prevailing party. This could apply in some breach of contract cases involving consumer transactions.
  • Workers’ Compensation: In Louisiana workers’ compensation cases, attorney fees need approval from a workers’ compensation judge and can be taken from the compensation awarded, excluding specific injury benefits. These fees are capped at 20% of the total recovery.
  • Cases Specified by Law: Louisiana allows victims to seek compensation for attorney fees in certain cases, but only when specified by law. For instance, settlements in civil cases involving human trafficking and employment discrimination can include reimbursement for attorney fees.
  • Court Orders: In rare instances, a judge may impose attorney fees on the losing party as a sanction for bad-faith litigation tactics. This typically occurs when a party engages in frivolous lawsuits or intentionally delays proceedings.

What are Contingency Fees, and How Do They Work in Personal Injury Cases?

Since having the at-fault party pay your attorney fees is the exception rather than the norm in personal injury cases, most lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay no upfront or hourly fees. Instead, the lawyer’s fee is contingent upon them winning a settlement or court award.

Typical contingency fee percentages in Louisiana range from 33 to 40% of the final amount recovered. For example, if you received a $100,000 settlement with a 35% contingency fee, your attorney would get $35,000 as their fee, while you would receive the remaining $65,000.

Since the attorney fee comes out of the settlement awarded, you never have to pay any part of your attorney fee out of your own pocket.

At Dudley DeBosier, we structure our contingency fees to fully comply with Louisiana State Bar guidelines under Rule 5.1(c):

  • You receive a written fee agreement before any work begins.
  • The contract clearly specifies the percentage fee owed if successful.
  • It details what case-related costs and expenses will be deducted from the recovery amount.
  • You receive an itemized statement of fees at the conclusion of your case.

This ensures there is no surprise about how much your fee will be, and that the amount is agreed on by both parties.

Our No Fee Guarantee at Dudley DeBosier

Even with no upfront legal fees, some firms may require you to repay case costs and expenses if your claim is unsuccessful. At Dudley DeBosier, our No Fee Guarantee® ensures you truly owe nothing unless we recover compensation for you.

We cover all upfront costs and expenses required to build your case, including:

  • Court filing fees
  • Fees for expert witnesses
  • Costs of obtaining medical records and police reports
  • Charges for evidence investigations and depositions

If we don’t win your case through a settlement or verdict, you don’t pay a single penny back to us. There are no reimbursements, legal fees, or surprise costs; it’s 100% risk-free for you.

Suffering an injury due to someone else’s negligence is already tough—dealing with legal costs shouldn’t add to your stress. At Dudley DeBosier, our contingency fees and No Fee Guarantee® remove that financial worry, allowing you to concentrate on your recovery.

With our decades of legal experience, our Louisiana personal injury lawyers are committed to defending the rights of the injured. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to explore your options and discover how we can assist you in securing the full compensation you’re entitled to.

Disclaimer: This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.

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