Why Personal Injury Cases Take So Long: Part I – Pre-Intake Phase | NYC Personal Injury Attorney


From a purely business point of view, this phase of a case may well be the most crucial to the attorney. In the field of personal injury law, cases are routinely taken on a “contingent fee” basis. This simply means that an attorney will not earn or receive any fee for his work unless there is a successful conclusion to the case, and the client receives some amount of monetary compensation. It stands to reason, therefore, that the decision as to whether or not to accept a matter into the office is of vital financial importance to the attorney. Too many cases accepted, that end in a failure to obtain compensation, will lead not only to unhappy clients, but will also lead, eventually, to an abbreviated life span for that law office.

Through diligent and meticulous questioning, the experienced attorney will delve into various aspects of the matter being presented by the potential client.

Questions relating to time, location, parties involved, conditions at the scene, preceding events, injuries sustained, relationships of parties and myriad other questions are all designed to see first, whether there is a viable case and second, whether the case has the possibility of ending in a way that both the client and the attorney can view as “successful.”

Issues involving Statues of Limitations (legal time limits for bringing a case), Damages (injuries suffered), Liability (fault of each party involved) and Coverage (available funds from insurance or other readily available sources)are all of pivotal importance to the experienced attorney at the Pre-Intake stage. At The Orlow Firm we have been handling personal injury cases in New York City for over 30 years.


What, exactly, is a "CONTINGENT FEE"?

Law firms which restrict their practice to matters involving victims of personal injury,  usually limit their fee arrangement with their clients to a ‘CONTINGENT FEE” .

What, exactly, is a “CONTINGENT FEE”?

It seems hard to argue against the position that a “CONTINGENT FEE” is simply the fairest, most equitable arrangement that any client could hope for.   It basically says to you, the client, that the ONLY way you will owe your attorneys any fee is if your attorney is successful in obtaining money for you to compensate you for your injury, whether through settlement or after a trial.   In the  event the firm is unable to obtain money to compensate you then, in that event, you do not owe your attorney any attorney’s fee whatsoever!   What could be fairer from a client’s point of view?

Furthermore, the amount of fee the attorney is entitled to is directly related to the amount of money your attorney recovers on your behalf.   The greater the amount of recovery, the greater the fee your attorney receives.  As a general rule, the fee an attorney receives amounts to one-third of the amount recovered, after first deducting the expenses paid out in pursuing the case on your behalf.  (There are some exceptions and the attorney will explain any differences and give you a written “retainer agreement” setting out  the fee arrangement in detail).

For anyone that has either experienced, or knows someone that had to hire an attorney and experienced, being charged for every minute of every phone conversation with that attorney, the “CONTINGENT FEE” arrangement can be a refreshing breath of fresh air.  How comforting to know that any question, at any time, can be answered with just a phone call and there are no extra charges to have what may be a very important–or even not so important–matter dealt with quickly.

Be certain to ask the attorney what happens in the event there is NO recovery and the attorney has incurred expenses on your behalf.  This may be handled somewhat differently by different attorneys.