A common question that many clients have is “how much will I have to pay personal injury lawyers in Ontario to take on my file?”
Most personal injury lawyers in Ontario work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will not have to pay the lawyer until the file settles or comes to an end. If you lose your case, your lawyer will usually not charge you for their services. Once you retain a lawyer, they will provide you a breakdown of their contingency fee agreement to help you better understand the price breakdown of their service.
A contingency fee retainer means that the lawyer does not take an up-front fee from the client for the legal services provided. Often times a contingency fee percentage ranges anywhere from 25 to 33%. The more complex a file is, the more likely that the percentage will be higher.
In addition to a contingency fee, once your file settles you will be responsible for paying the HST (13%) owing the government on the fees paid to the lawyer. This amount will be deducted from the settlement portion. A common question I am asked is ‘does this mean I am paying your percentage plus 13%?’ No – the 13% hst is charged on the amount of fees.
You will also be required to repay any disbursements that your lawyer accrues in the period that they are handling your file. Some common disbursements include obtaining medical records, filing a Statement of Claim, retaining experts for reports, and other court fees. Once your file settles, the disbursement amount is deducted from the settlement amount before the contingency percentage is applied.
To help better understand a breakdown of a settlement, here is an example:
|Disbursements (Example: $1,500.00)||-$1,500.00|
|Legal Fees (Example: 33%)||-$17,655.00|
|Total Amount For Client||$33,549.85|
Article by: Stephany Ginzburg