Most personal injury attorneys in Columbia, Lexington, and throughout South Carolina, charge 33%-40% based on the amount of compensation they obtain for you. This is known as a "contingency fee" because it is contingent upon the value of your settlement or jury award. For instance, if we obtained a $100,000.00 settlement for you, our fee would be $33,000.00-$38,000.00 (I cap my fees at 38% in almost all cases), depending on whether a lawsuit was required. However, you would not pay us a dime until the end of the case. Moreover, we have an unwritten rule at our firm that goes like this: our fee will not exceed what our client receives. Even if the contract says we are entitled to 33% of the settlement funds, we will reduce our fee to make sure the injured person nets more than we do. Fact is: you're the one who got hurt; we are just privileged enough to represent you. Clients need us to obtain fair results, but we need them to make a living. In that way, we remember who comes first.
If someone wants to charge you a "retainer fee" or "hourly rate," I'd start looking for new counsel. Likewise, remember that not all South Carolina personal injury lawyers have the same qualifications or track record of results. An attorney who charges only 25%, but gets you only $25,000.00 is not as valuable as the attorney who charges 35% but gets you $50,000.00.