Understanding Personal Injury Lawyer Fees
If you suffer a personal injury, you might be wondering how much it would cost to hire a lawyer to oversee your claim. Fortunately, you probably won’t have to pay any attorney’s fees upfront when you decide to hire a lawyer.
However, there are other legal costs you might incur while pursuing a personal injury claim.
Here we will discuss the different legal fees and costs associated with your claim and how personal injury lawyers get paid for their services.
What Percentage Do Lawyers Take for Personal Injury Cases?
The typical attorney fees for personal injury cases is around 25-40% of your settlement after expenses. However, if you’ve done a lot of work for your personal injury claim before you hire a lawyer, you could negotiate for lower fees. Most personal injury attorneys expect one-third of the claim settlement, but may increase their take if you have to file a lawsuit.
Contingency Fee Agreements
The fee structure above is known as a contingency fee agreement. This is the most common type of agreement that personal injury lawyers use. Under a contingency fee agreement, the lawyer doesn’t charge any money upfront and only gets paid for their services if they get a settlement or win the case. If you win, a percentage of your settlement pays for your lawyer’s services.
If your lawyer has to file a lawsuit, they may increase their percentage of the take using a sliding scale. Lawsuit and arbitration require more time to resolve, often lengthening your case by months while you wait for a trial. Trial preparations always require extra litigation activities, including written legal pleadings, depositions, and court hearing attendance.
In addition, your lawyer may need to hire expert witnesses or get several certified copies of legal documents. The charges for these additions are usually included in your contingency agreement just in case your claim cannot be settled and goes to trial instead.
Carefully Read Your Agreement
Make sure you read the entirety of your agreement, especially the clauses that explain your payout or settlement. If you have questions about any sections of your agreement, ask the attorney to explain them to you. Personal injury lawyers must work in the best interest of clients, so they usually provide a thorough explanation.
Most clauses in contingency agreements outline the expenses taken out of your settlement or judgment payout, including medical liens, the attorney’s fees, and miscellaneous legal costs for filing paperwork.
The Difference Between Personal Injury Lawyer Fees and Legal Costs
For personal injury cases, hiring a lawyer doesn’t usually cost anything upfront. However, lawyer’s use contingency fees to guarantee that they get paid if you win. In addition, there may be other costs associated with your case depending on the circumstances, including:
- Requesting an accident report,
- Getting copies of medical records,
- Paying court filing fees, and
- Hiring expert witnesses.
However, this isn’t an exhaustive list. As claims evolve into lawsuits, they become more complex and require more documentation and court appearances. Your lawyer can explain all of the possible legal costs you might encounter while pursuing your case.
How Medical Liens Affect Your Case
A medical lien may be taken out of your settlement by a hospital or other medical provider for treatment you receive after an injury if you can’t pay for it. Before you receive your settlement, your lawyer must pay for the lien to be removed with the compensation you receive.
For example, let’s say you have a settlement worth $20,000. You must subtract medical liens, legal costs, and lawyer compensation from that amount to get your net settlement award.
Settlement Amount $20,000.00
Legal Costs (Paperwork) -$500.00
Personal Injury Lawyer Fee (33.3%) -$6,493.50
Medical Lien -$4,000.00
Net Compensation for You $9,006.50
As you can see, having a medical lien placed on your settlement significantly decreases the amount that you receive.
Why Does the Settlement Check Go to My Lawyer First?
Your settlement check goes to your lawyer to ensure that they receive payment for their services. Since personal injury lawyers take cases on a contingency fee basis, they risk not getting paid if they don’t receive a settlement.
Once your lawyer receives your settlement check, they provide you with an itemized list of deductions from your settlement to cover all fees and costs. If you decide to dispute charges, your lawyer might put the disputed amount in a trust account until you settle the dispute.
How Do I Know if I Hired the Right Lawyer?
If you suspect that your lawyer isn’t working with your best interests in mind, you should get a second opinion from another attorney. The best personal injury attorneys usually:
- Collect evidence relating to your accident;
- Request records or other related documents for you;
- Locate potential witnesses;
- Hire expert witnesses;
- Keep track of medical bills relating to your injury;
- Communicate with insurance companies on your behalf; and
- Answer your questions in a timely manner.
Try to hire a lawyer that works with you directly and honestly discloses their fees. A good lawyer takes the time to personally manage your case instead of using a case manager.
What Happens if I Fire My Lawyer Before My Case Ends?
If you decide to switch lawyers or represent yourself during your case, your first lawyer places a lien for the expenses they incurred prior to being fired. In some cases, they may try to sue you and the defendant for not honoring the lien.
Before firing your lawyer, make sure you get them to agree in writing that they have no interest in collecting fees for the work they’ve already done.
Questions You Should Ask Your Personal Injury Lawyer
When looking for the right lawyer, you usually get the chance to meet in-person for an initial consultation. Your consultation is a good opportunity to ask questions and determine if the lawyer you are considering is the right choice for you. During your consultation, make sure you ask the following questions:
- What is your experience with cases like mine?
- What is your litigation strategy?
- How much will my case cost?
- How long will my case take to resolve?
- What is your preferred method of communication with clients?
Questions like these help you gauge the lawyer’s ability to communicate quickly and efficiently. You also get to know them and how they approach cases like yours.
Apply for Pre-Settlement Funding To Get Cash Today
If you are suffering from a personal injury and need help paying for medical bills, legal costs, or other expenses, consider applying for a lawsuit loan through Nova Legal Funding. We provide pre-settlement lawsuit loans to plaintiffs who can’t afford to wait for their settlement.
Our loans are non-recourse, which means you don’t pay us back unless you win. In addition, we have the lowest interest rates in the industry, with rates as low as 1-3%. If you want to apply for pre-settlement funding, give us a call at 866-985-0472. Once approved, we send you cash within 24 hours.
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