How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
- Casey Hamm
- February 26, 2019
- Personal Injury
You might not have to pay any up-front fees to hire a personal injury lawyer. Some personal injury law firms work on a contingency basis. In these cases, you pay the firm for legal services rendered only if and when you receive financial compensation, either from a settlement or a verdict.
For personal injury lawyers that do not operate on a contingency basis, the costs to hire the lawyer or retain their services—as well as how they charge for legal services rendered—vary from firm to firm.
Most personal injury victims share the common concern of cost when they consider the option of hiring a lawyer to help with their cases. Following is a breakdown of the types of fees you might encounter when you hire a personal injury lawyer.
Types of Fee Arrangements That Personal Injury Lawyers Charge
Lawyers often base their fee arrangements on the kind of case you need them to handle. Some typical fees include the following:
In some cases, attorneys will charge you to meet with you, hear the details of your case, and decide whether they can/will help you resolve your legal matter. Usually, this charge comes in the form of a flat fee.
Other personal injury lawyers offer a free, initial consultation. The consultation takes the same shape; you share the details of your case with the attorney, who then decides whether the firm can help you with your legal issues.
Sometimes, mainly when a firm specializes in a niche type of case, it comes up with a flat fee that it charges for handling legal issues common to that practice. Because the firm handles only one kind of case, it can devise forms and operations that serve to streamline the process, making every case more or less “the same” in terms of resources required for completion.
The most common fee arrangement, hourly rates can differ from the type of legal service to the next, even within the same firm. For example, for drafting a damage recovery demand letter, the lawyer might charge the hourly rate of $100 per hour; and to litigate a personal injury case, the same lawyer might charge the hourly rate of $200 per hour.
The firm can also charge different hourly rates for services provided by other professionals in the firm, including paralegals. Personal injury lawyers who charge hourly rates typically track their time in fractions of an hour.
Think of these fees as your deposit in a lay-away plan. The lawyer requires that you pay a certain amount of money up-front, as kind of a good-faith deposit so the attorney can begin working on your case. The firm sets your deposit aside, sometimes in a trust fund, and draws from the account to pay for legal services as you use them. In other instances, a client will pay a lawyer a retainer fee to keep the attorney on call whenever a legal issue arises.
Sometimes, a state can set or limit the fees that lawyers collect for specific services.
Most common among personal injury attorneys and medical malpractice lawyers, the client pays the firm a percentage of the total amount negotiated in an insurance settlement or awarded by a jury. In other words, if you win nothing, you pay nothing. However, regardless of the outcome of your case, you will most likely be required to pay expenses, like filing fees, etc.
Sometimes, lawyers are limited in the percentage of settlement or award they can collect in a case. The most common contingency percentage for personal injury cases is 33 1/3 percent.
Contingency fees pose a risk for lawyers, as they only get paid in the event of a win. As such, if a lawyer accepts your case on a contingency basis, more than likely it is because he or she believes the case is winnable.
Get Your Fee Arrangement in Writing
Whatever fee you agree to with your personal injury lawyer, you should make sure the agreement is set in writing. Read the agreement slowly and carefully, checking for inconsistencies with what you and the attorney discussed. Be sure you ask questions and clarify any points in the agreement that confuse you. Also, determine up front how other, non-legal services will be charged. As about deposition fees, copies, postage, and so on, as these items can quickly add up.
Zanes Law Offers Contingency-Based Legal Services
If you need a personal injury lawyer for your Arizona-based accident whether it involves cars, motorcycles, slip and falls and more, call the legal team at Zanes Law. We will do everything from A to Z to get you the compensation you deserve, and you do not pay until you get paid. Call us today at 866-499-8989.
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