You have many questions on your mind after an accident. “When will my injuries heal?” “When will I be well enough to go back to work?” And “Can I afford a lawyer to file a compensation claim against the person who injured me?”

Getting the answer to the last question is important for people who are considering seeking compensation through claims or lawsuits. Most people in Utah have never needed lawyers before, let alone for injury claims, and they’re often worried they can’t afford them.

In this blog, we’ll explain how personal injury lawyers get paid and how their fee structure makes it possible for almost all victims to afford legal representation.

Most Personal Injury Lawyers Charge Contingency Fees

The most common payment structure for personal injury lawyers is a contingency fee arrangement. This means that the lawyer’s payment is contingent upon you winning your case or securing a settlement. Essentially, if you don’t win, you don’t pay.

There are many benefits of contingency fees, including:

  • Risk-Free Representation: This arrangement aligns the interests of both the client and the attorney. Since lawyers only get paid if they win, they are highly motivated to secure the best possible outcome for their clients.
  • No Upfront Costs: Contingency fees remove the financial burden from clients, allowing them to pursue justice without worrying about upfront legal fees.
  • Transparency: The percentage to be paid to the attorney is usually agreed upon before taking on the case, ensuring a clear understanding of the financial arrangements before legal action begins.

At Great West Injury Law, we refer to our contingency fee as our No Fee Guarantee®. It means we never charge our clients a penny for our legal services unless we get compensation for them.

Where Does the Money for Personal Injury Lawyers Come From?

Personal injury lawyers are paid the same way their clients are paid when their cases settle, which happen one of three ways:


What Are They? A settlement is the most common resolution for personal injury claims. It occurs when both parties agree on a compensation amount outside of court, avoiding a trial. Settlements can be reached at any point—before filing a lawsuit, during the litigation process, or even once a trial has started but before it concludes.

How Does Payment Work? In a settlement scenario, personal injury lawyers typically receive a predetermined percentage of the compensation amount as their fee, based on a contingency fee agreement. This percentage is agreed upon when the lawyer takes on the case. Since the settlement avoids the uncertainty and expenses of a trial, it’s a preferred resolution for many clients and attorneys.


What Are They? When a settlement cannot be reached, the case may go to trial. During the trial, both sides present evidence and arguments, and a judge or jury makes a decision regarding liability and compensation. Trials are less common due to their complexity, duration, and the unpredictability of the outcome.

How Does Payment Work? If a personal injury claim goes to trial and results in a favorable verdict for the plaintiff, the lawyer’s payment still follows the contingency fee model. However, the contingency fee might be higher in cases that go to trial to account for the additional time and resources required to litigate the case.

Mediation and Arbitration

What Are They? Some personal injury cases may be resolved through alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or arbitration. Mediation involves a neutral third-party facilitating negotiations between the disputing parties to help them reach a mutual agreement. Arbitration involves a neutral arbitrator who hears evidence and arguments from both sides and then makes a binding decision. 

How Does Payment Work? Lawyers’ fees in mediation and arbitration are generally covered by contingency agreements, similar to settlements and trials. The contingency fee percentage agreed upon initially applies, allowing the lawyer to receive a portion of the awarded amount or settlement.

Who Pays Court Fees and Other Costs?

Regardless of the outcome of a personal injury case, it’s important to distinguish between the lawyer’s contingency fee and the costs and expenses associated with pursuing the case.

These costs may include court fees, the cost of obtaining medical records, and payments to expert witnesses. Whether these are paid upfront by the client or advanced by the attorney (to be reimbursed from the settlement or award) will be clarified in the contingency fee agreement.

Our Utah Personal Injury Lawyers Are Ready to Help

If you’re recovering from an injury and need legal representation, don’t let attorney fees, hourly rates, or expensive invoices dissuade you from getting the help you deserve. At Great West Injury Law, we believe in helping all injured victims in Utah regardless of their ability to pay.

Contact us today to get a free consultation and to find out how we can help you during this difficult time. We have the experience, resources, and dedication to maximize your chances of getting full and fair compensation.