Would I have to pay attorney even if he decides not to take my case?

I have a slip and fall case. The attorney I talked with sent a retainer with a
contingency. My question is that it says I am responsible for his costs . Does
that mean I would owe him money if he decided not to take the case?I have no
problem paying out of my case for his costs, but I don’t want to have to pay if
he just investigates and decideds not to take the case. I am on a very limited
income so its important to know. I thought if you did it that meant you only pay
if you win the case. Also, This attorney is out of my area but was referred. Is
it smart to get a local attorney?

Asked on August 31, 2017 under Personal Injury, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Ordinarily, the "costs" are what the attorney incurs during the course of representation.  There should not be any costs if the attorney decides not to take your personal injury case, but it would be advisable to clarify this with the attorney prior to signing the retainer agreement. It would also be advisable to have the attorney's explanation of costs be in writing.
If meeting with an attorney out of your area is a problem for you, then you may want to retain a local attorney instead.

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