Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 19, 2020

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Colorado car accident lawyers are typically paid on a contingency fee basis – which means that they don’t get paid until they recover for you. But how does that work in real life and how might it affect your case?

Colorado Attorney Jim Chalat

Jim Chalat, a Colorado attorney with over 30 years of experience whose firm focuses its practice in personal injury law, says that Colorado’s ethics rules still provide that attorneys should offer their clients an hourly rate, but that only a small minority of his clients choose to do so. He explained, “[W]e will work on a contingency fee basis which can be discounted in cases involving catastrophic injuries with clear-cut cases of liability. In those cases, we will always discount the fee because the work involved in getting that case advanced is typically not going to be as significant as the work would be on a contested liability case involving moderate or serious damages. So, it’s on a case-to-case basis.”

Making sure the client understands

Chalat thinks it’s very important for clients to understand what’s involved in a contingency fee contract so that there are no surprises. He told us, “Colorado has very rigid ethical requirements about what has to be contained in these agreements and what sort of disclosures have to be made. We have long discussions with our clients to make sure that they’re happy with the arrangement and understand the terms.”

Chalat truly believes that lawyers are obligated to give honest, candid and disinterested advice as well as to explain what it is that the lawyer could or couldn’t do, and whether or not you need a lawyer for the case. He said, “I can’t speak for other law firms, but that’s the sort of honest and ethical representation you get from us. We’re very tough-minded, but we’re also extremely honest.”

While some firms will charge a fee for an initial consultation on a personal injury or auto accident case, Chalat’s firm does not. If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, contact an experienced car accident attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. Consultations are without obligation and strictly confidential.