How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?

by Paula A. Wyatt | June 24, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?

Personal Injury Attorney Fees

As with most any other service, when it comes to legal assistance, personal injury attorneys receive monetary compensation for their work and the services they provide—except in pro bono cases when the attorney agrees to work for free. Suppose you were in a motor vehicle crash, a slip and fall accident, or another calamity. You suffered severe injuries, such as spinal cord damage, bone fractures, traumatic head or brain injuries, or other traumatic wounds. You may want to find out how much a personal injury attorney will cost in that circumstance. After all, many people harmed in these mishaps (and who suffer severe injuries) do not have the funds to pay for legal services. After being hurt by the negligence of another, the priority most people have is to get better physically. Nevertheless, it may be difficult to completely recover without paying costly medical bills or losing funds through lost wages. It doesn't seem reasonable that the injured party should be responsible for using their money to be made whole again. As a result, the law permits injured individuals to recover their losses from the at-fault party without paying anything for legal fees unless there is a recovery.

Where to Start When Looking For an Attorney?

Making sure you are getting the benefits and compensation you deserve is a priority for most victims involved personal injury. Getting in contact with a qualified lawyer can help put your mind at ease. A lawyer will be able to go over the next steps in your legal process, reach out to us!

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This payment type is known as a contingency fee. This fee structure is where an attorney agrees to take a case and front the client their fees and expenses. Making this arrangement more appealing, the client generally will not owe the attorney a dime unless the client obtains a recovery. Still, the all-around cost of a lawyer and their assistance will vary depending on several elements. Suppose you consider retaining a personal injury attorney to represent you in your injury case. In that circumstance, you should review the attorney’s contingency fee agreement carefully and make sure that you understand everything. Your attorney should be pleased to answer any questions about the agreement before you sign it.

How Do Contingency Fee Agreements Usually Work?

AIPIA 10 best law firm 2017-2020 badgeIn a contingency fee agreement, you will not owe your attorney a fee or have to reimburse the attorney for expenses unless and until you obtain economic compensation in your injury case. This compensation generally comes in a settlement that you agree to before trial or a judgment obtained at trial. In other words, the payment of lawyer’s fees and reimbursement of expenses is contingent on your recovering payment for your losses in your personal injury case.

What Are Attorney’s Fee Percentages Under a Contingency Fee Agreement?

Under a contingency fee agreement, your lawyer will be paid a percentage of your recovery as their attorney’s fee after the personal injury case concludes. The actual percentage is negotiable and appears in the contingency fee agreement. Several characteristics determine the lawyer’s fee percentage. These elements typically include whether the lawyer will have to pay for case costs, whether the lawyer files a lawsuit or has to go to trial on your case, the sophistication of the specific personal injury case, and the gamble that the lawyer is assuming. In personal injury cases that are more complex, the lawyer may demand a higher contingency fee, as stated in the agreement. The same is true if the claim involves substantial risk or your lawyer expects extensive costs. Another critical factor is whether your attorney files a lawsuit on your behalf. If your personal injury case settles before the attorney files a lawsuit, the contingency fee may decrease. On the other hand, if the parties can't reach a settlement and the attorney must file a lawsuit against the at-fault person or entity, the fee might rise. Unfortunately, the actual filing of a lawsuit may be required to achieve the best result. The lawyer's fees may increase if your personal injury matter proceeds to trial or arbitration. Again, any fee boost based on litigation should be transparent in your contingency fee arrangement, and you should refer any questions about these costs to your attorney.

What Factors Cause Costs and Attorney’s Fees to Vary?

Below are a few of the elements that may cause the cost of a case and a lawyer’s fees to differ:
  • Type of Injury: Every injury is a dire injury. Nevertheless, some injuries may be less noticeable than others. For instance, diseases and injuries caused by toxic substances may require more time to research liability for the injury than a car accident.
  • Experts Hired: Equivalent to the above, only expert testimony and advice, which will add to the litigation's overall cost, can undoubtedly establish some injuries.
  • Out of Pocket Costs: We cannot state this enough—personal injury litigation is costly. Between depositions, outside investigation, preparing exhibits, documents required for the court and each party, phone bills, travel expenses, and other fees, costs can accrue over the years as your dispute continues.​

What Are the Benefits of a Contingency Agreement With Your Lawyer?

One of the most crucial benefits of a contingency fee agreement with your lawyer is that you don't have to pay if you don't recover any financial compensation in your personal injury case. In addition, an attorney may not take a case where recovery is unlikely because the lawyer does not want to jeopardize losing time and money. If the lawyer does take your case, it's a sign that the lawyer believes in it.

Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge an Hourly Fee?

It is highly uncommon for a personal injury attorney to ask for an hourly fee, but not necessarily unheard of or unbelievable. Nevertheless, if a client has a plentiful amount of money or can afford to pay a lawyer’s bill, a lawyer may work for an hourly rate. Hourly rates will differ significantly, depending on the relative proficiency of the attorney. Expect to pay $100 to $1,500 an hour for a lawyer’s time.  An attorney working on an hourly rate may also demand the payment of a retainer. This retainer will protect a certain amount of that attorney’s time. After the retainer runs out, a standard—or potentially discounted—hourly rate will apply. Unlike with a contingency fee, you will need to pay the hourly rate even if your case does not succeed. And unlike with a contingency fee, your hourly rate could exceed the compensation you recover.

Caution: Get Your Fee and Payments Agreement in Writing

A written agreement about fees protects you and your attorney if you later disagree about who gets how much. Most attorneys are mindful about putting any fee agreement in writing, and the rules in many states mandate a lawyer to do so. Both you and the attorney should sign your written agreement. If it is the law office's standard form, make sure it reflects any detailed arrangements with the attorney. The agreement should also go over costs—the expenses of completing negotiations and if necessary, a personal injury lawsuit. Be aware that expenses and costs can pile up and are often unavoidable. And that can be a concern for you because you, the client, must pay those expenses out of the settlement amount. It is difficult for most individuals to come up with a lot of money to pay a lawyer. And most individuals will find it challenging to pay a lawyer on an hourly basis throughout the pursuit of an injury claim and potential lawsuit.

Should You Pay a Contingency Fee?

Best SA Lawyers 2019 In determining whether to hire an attorney on a contingency fee basis, you have to decide if the economics of your accident or injury case make it practical. For instance, suppose the insurance company has refused to pay you any compensation or only a token “nuisance value” payment, but the possible damages in your case are relatively large. It is probably worth your time to hire an attorney on a contingency fee basis. You don’t have much to lose and much to acquire. For cases where injuries are relatively minor, but nonetheless exist, the decision will hinge on how comfortable you are going to small claims court or arbitration without a lawyer, how specialized the insurance company’s defense is, and whether an attorney is willing to take your case and is confident about getting you a specific range of compensation. Finally, suppose the insurance company has offered you a large settlement amount, but you think it is still too low. Compare what they offer against how much more a lawyer can realistically get. If an attorney can expect to get only an additional 25 percent, hiring the lawyer and paying out 40 percent of your settlement wouldn't make sense. You might bargain with the attorney for a decreased contingency or hourly fee arrangement. But if the attorney sees a reasonable likelihood of getting enough added compensation to overcome the attorney's fee, hiring the attorney makes sense. In this case, try to structure a fee arrangement so that whatever the payment amount, you are guaranteed no less than you might obtain had you just settled with the insurance company on your own.​

Litigation Costs

In legal jargon, costs do not mean fees you pay to your accident attorney. Rather, costs refer to the expenses paid by the attorney's office in investigating your accident or injury claim, leading settlement negotiations, and seeking a personal injury suit. Depending on the agreement you make with your attorney, you will have to repay the attorney for these expenses, usually out of your final settlement amount. Some costs are unavoidable. For instance, if the attorney must file a lawsuit to protect your rights, filing that lawsuit is a necessary cost. Suppose your claim does not settle in early negotiations with the insurance company, and the lawyer must proceed with a lawsuit. These costs often include hiring experts and recording depositions and can grow rapidly into thousands of dollars. You and your attorney need to discuss several costs and spell them out plainly in your written agreement.

Costs You Agree on in Advance

Many expenses in a personal injury case are pretty standard, and often a lawyer’s initial written agreement will include them. These regular and unavoidable expenses include copying, long-distance phone calls, and court filing costs. Other costs may not be so crucial—but can be pricey. So, you and the attorney should spell out what costs the attorney must ask you about before going ahead and incurring them. The easiest way to manage the issue of costs is to set a dollar limit beyond which the attorney must get your consent for any costs.

Is One Fee Structure Better than Another?

Ultimately, the best billing structure is the one that works for the client. Personal injury attorneys know how stressful a personal injury claim can be and how much pain you are going through. Therefore, they will try to make the financial parts of your case as painless as possible. Still, it is always wise to know what you are paying for. If you require an attorney please feel free to contact us and receive your free consultation.


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