Hiring a lawyer for the first time might be daunting, especially if you know nothing about standard practices and costs. This article offers essential information you should consider before choosing your attorney, and it will be helpful if you want to know more about how expenses work.
How much a personal injury attorney makes is relative to what you make. According to Los Angeles personal injury lawyer Michael Ehline, most PI lawyers work on a contingent fee agreement. You see this on billboards: “No Win, No Fee.” Ehline says he has never handled an injury case on an hourly basis for any client.
Ask How Payment Works
If you’re wondering, ‘how much does a personal injury lawyer cost?’ the first thing you should understand is that you must ask this question to your specific lawyer-to-be and other attorneys for a second opinion. Even though there are standard practices in the field of personal injury cases, it always depends on the attorney you hire and the case. Some cases, like a disputed slip and fall case, might be extremely difficult to prove. Injury lawyers need to take care of different things, work with you for weeks, potentially go to trial, and so on.
Therefore, the pricing structure might vary from one professional to the other. Knowing this and any other specific costs and expenses you must pay back is the only way to see if you can accept the insurance company’s settlement offer. You must know the exact amount because this is the first and last chance you’ll ever have to collect your net amount after specific arrangements to pay things back and protect your credit. So you must win your case, not just settle for whatever. Filing a lawsuit is sometimes the only option available depending on the individual case and any attendant risk.
What Is a Contingency Fee Structure?
Most personal injury lawyers work with what’s known as contingency fee agreements. These written documents state that the attorney will provide you with their legal services, including litigation or a trial, and you don’t need to pay anything unless you get your settlement in writing.
A contingency fee agreement protects both clients and personal injury lawyers. It guarantees that the professional will fight for you no matter what, and it allows you to have some wiggle room in case you cannot pay for the attorney’s services once you start filing your lawsuit, let alone be able to argue with a judge.
Why Do Lawyers Rely on Contingency Fees?
Your personal injury lawyer might rely on a contingency fee agreement for various reasons. On the one hand, as mentioned before, it lets you focus on your case without having to worry about making any payments that you can’t afford anyway, and it helps your attorney stay focused on getting your settlement.
At the same time, an experienced personal injury attorney might be able to get virtually any amount of money handling a personal injury case. It depends on the specific circumstances of said case. Therefore, percentage-based fees mean they’re getting the payment they deserve as well.
A contingency fee agreement also guarantees that you don’t have to worry about legal fees, for example, payments that the law office takes care of when your personal injury lawyer is handling your case. Copying items, making long-distance calls, dealing with the insurance company, and other litigation costs are some examples of this.
Are Contingency Fees Fair for All Parties Involved?
Yes. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis because it’s fair for everyone. They are committed to passionately defending your case, and their payment depends on how much they get for you, so it’s a way to measure their ability to defend you aggressively.
Taking care of court fees, expert witness fees, and other aspects of your legal representation might also be challenging without a contingency fee arrangement. However, when you sign one, you let the law office handle this without you having to worry about any of it. Instead, you can focus on recovering from a car accident or any other incident.
Personal injury lawyers charge a specific percentage fee, and the money they get depends on your settlement amount. However, some professionals use the sliding scale option.
With this alternative, the attorney’s fee changes depending on how long your case needs to resolve. Suppose your personal injury lawyer manages to negotiate your final settlement without going to court. In that case, the fee percentage might even be lower than 33%, which is the standard percentage for a contingency fee agreement.
However, if they have to pay for court filing fees, court costs, go to trial with you, and gather evidence for your personal injury case (medical records, proof of lost wages, records of the serious injuries you sustained, proof of medical malpractice, police reports, medical bills, etc.), and work for longer periods, their percentage fee will steadily increase as time goes by.
Personal Injury Lawyers Can Explain the Potential Value of Your Compensation
One of the best advantages of hiring a personal injury attorney is that once you get your free consultation, you can have a clear idea of how much you could get as a settlement for the pain and suffering you’re going through. Regardless of the personal injury attorney fees, during your free consultation, you can ask numerous questions about your case and get a sense of how much compensation you can get. The best way is to schedule a free consultation with a local lawyer to the courts and hospitals you are treating at for medical services.
Gathering the Best Evidence Can Support Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
An essential part of filing a personal injury case is that the more evidence you can gather, the better chances you have at getting favorable results. Your outcomes also depend on numerous things. For example, having a positive attorney-client relationship can immensely influence the results you get because you must always be truthful with the lawyer you’re hiring. They must be committed to fighting for your case.
At the same time, the expertise of your personal injury lawyer can influence what happens as well. You should only hire top professionals willing to help you get the desired outcomes. Lastly, your own actions can impact your personal injury case. If you’re working with an experienced lawyer, you should always listen to their suggestions and work with them to determine the best course of action for your situation.
Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Even though the attorney’s fee might sound somewhat expensive in some cases, hiring a personal injury lawyer means you get many benefits you should keep in mind as a client.
Firstly, you get a free initial consultation, so you can take advantage of it and ask any questions. You can tell your lawyer about attorney’s fees, potential monetary compensation, instances in which they might get a higher contingency fee, and whether or not you need to pay any money upfront. Furthermore, practicing attorneys with years of experience do everything they can to get you fair compensation, whether working with contingency fee rates or charging an hourly fee.
Most lawyers help you gather evidence and suggest the best alternatives while ensuring you have time to recover from any severe injury you sustained. Therefore, when you hire a personal injury attorney, you’re relying on an empathetic human who understands what you’re going through and wants to help you. A lawyer’s fees are often challenging to understand, but if you get the professional’s help, they can explain everything to you, which is another advantage.
Lastly, regardless of whether you found your lawyer through attorney advertising or because someone else recommended them to you, legal professionals are committed to aggressively defending your case. Hiring them means you get better chances of having favorable outcomes.
The Statute of Limitations
Depending on the nature of your case, the statute of limitations might vary. Just like understanding court costs and an attorney’s fee percentage might prove challenging, knowing how to navigate legal waters can be almost impossible unless you’re an expert.
However, with the help of a legal team, things can go much smoother. Your lawyer can identify and help you comply with all the deadlines so you never have any issues with your statute of limitations.
Your Personal Injury Attorneys Will Receive Your Settlement Check
If your lawyer works on a contingency basis, they are most likely the ones receiving your settlement check. Some people don’t like this, but you must understand why it is so before making your mind up when considering other factors. When your attorney works on an hourly rate, they get their payment depending on how much time they spend on your case investigating and developing evidence of other expenses.
Nonetheless, most attorneys don’t work like this. Instead, you must sign a written statement agreeing to a contingency fee arrangement, and you won’t have to pay any fees until you get your settlement.
On the other hand, your lawyer will invest time, resources, and expertise in your case for weeks. Them getting the settlement check guarantees that they will get paid the exact percentage that you agreed to, and you will get the rest of your compensation, also called a net recovery.
Some Things Are Standard Practices
Getting a free case evaluation, contingency fees, your lawyer receiving the settlement check, and other practices are standard in the legal field. Even though it might sound odd if you’ve never hired a lawyer, signed a retainer agreement, or worked with contingency fees, all of this regularly occurs when you work with law experts.
Getting Legal Help Is the Best Option
Several factors can impact your case, and if you don’t want to pay additional expenses out of your pocket, you should get an attorney to help you with the process and make sure you’re making the best decisions. Some people choose to self-represent instead of getting specialized help, but getting assistance is always the best alternative if you want your outcomes to be favorable consequences.
You Deserve Your Fair Settlement
If you experienced property damage, sustained catastrophic injuries that changed your life, lost a loved one, or are otherwise experiencing the consequences of negligent behavior, you should get compensation for what you’ve gone through. Only lawyers can passionately defend your case and work for you to get the best outcomes. Therefore, hire an experienced team with top lawyers who commit to assisting you.
Hire a Specialized Office that Can Help You
If you want to work with experienced, knowledgeable, ethical professionals, consider contacting Ehline Law Firm. We saw that they have a team of experts ready to help you with your case and guide you through the legal process, guaranteeing a fair outcome for your legal matters. Their article was used as a primary basis for this piece, as it was the most authoritative we could find, and they are local California injury lawyers.