Once affected by an accident, most of you focus on recovering physically. However, some of you might not be in a state to recover entirely without paying huge medical bills. This is when the personal injury law enables injured people to retrieve their losses and damages from the at-fault party. This model is referred to as a contingency fee.
In a contingency fee structure, a personal injury attorney agrees to take a case in front of the client. Here is when he/she discusses all the costs involved. There are not supposed to be any hidden fees. However, in the end, the overall cost of a lawyer varies depending on a bunch of factors.
What Is a Typical Contingency Fee?
Most of the personal injury lawyers are entitled to recover 1/3 of the entire compensation. This 1/3 does not cover certain costs like medical bills. In the present day, lawyers do not go for a tiered contingency fee. As per a tiered system, the attorney might take just 1/4 if the case settles before litigation starts; he might take 1/3 if litigation starts but settles before a jury verdict; he might be entitled to 2/5 if the case goes to trial.
Would a Personal Injury Lawyer Charge an Hourly Fee?
Usually, the present-day personal injury attorneys do not ask for an hourly fee. However, some might. When a client says that he/she can afford to pay a lawyer’s bill as they proceed with the case, the attorney might actually work for an hourly rate. Hourly rates usually vary a lot. It mainly depends on the relative ability of the lawyer. When it comes to an hourly rate, you might have to pay somewhere between $100 and $500. As per an hourly fee structure, legal bills might be involved in the $10,000 – $15,000 range, within a short time period.
When a personal injury attorney works on an hourly rate, he/she might require the payment of a retainer as well. This retainer will cover a particular amount of that lawyer’s time. Once the retainer is expended, a standard hourly rate will come into play.
What Factors Cause Costs and Lawyer’s Fees to Vary?
There are some injuries that are not that apparent in the initial hours but show up after a few days. When it comes to this type of injuries, it might take a good deal of time to research liability for the injury.
Involvement of experts
There are some injuries that can be only shown through expert testimony and advice. Once proved by experts, these add to the overall cost of your claim.
Certain times, litigation can be truly expensive. Several little costs can be added through depositions, preparation of exhibits, phone bills, travel costs, etc.
Why the contingency fee?
Many injured victims might not be in a financial position to pay upfront for counsel. He/she might have huge medical bills accompanied by loss of wages. Thus, the concept of contingency fee works for him/her. This concept also provides attorneys with a good incentive to work harder, with full dedication. They go for a high settlement amount.
Last but not least, the risk of higher settlements and verdicts can lead insurance companies to choose to settle within a short time period.
How to consider attorney fees?
At the time of considering the fees for your attorney, one needs to keep a lot of factors in mind. Upfront costs come into play, first. Many personal injury practices offer free initial consultations. Thus, it gets easier for you to find a good personal injury lawyer and talk to him/her regarding the merits of your injury claim.
Then, you will have to learn about the accident attorney’s fee. Nearly, 33.3-percent is considered a proper starting point for contingency fees. However, there is no fixed standard fee here. There are some law firms that do raise the fee if the case goes to trial to 40%. Some of the firms might require you to pay extra costs.
When a personal injury case is less severe, the firm might want a greater portion of the recovery. Its main intention will be to get full compensation with the given time.
It has been seen that when the case is less severe, the law firm will want a greater portion of the recovery in order to be fully compensated for its time.
As mentioned before, some try to find injury law practices that work on hourly rates. In such a case, you might have to spend a good deal of your money at an early stage of your case. Other expenses might be included that include expenses for investigators, travel, etc.
How to negotiate with a personal injury attorney?
At the time of dealing with fees, there is likely to be a good deal of tension between the client and the attorney. Being the victim, you will want to get as much money as you can, in the situation. Also, you might fear that if the case settles within a short period of time, you might not get your money’s worth from the attorney.
A personal injury lawyer also has his/her own share of worries. He/she might fear that he/she might not get any payment if there is no valid recovery.
One has to be prepared to negotiate when it comes to your settlement. You might have to shop around a bit. Look for the best fee structure when you have many law firms to choose from.
Discuss the fee structure with your lawyer
If you truly wish for a lower fee, go forward and ask. When you have a strong personal injury case, the law firms will surely want to discuss the fee structure with you.
Keep in mind that the statutes limit your time to file a claim to a couple of years from the date of the accident. Get ready to deal with plenty of bills!
In some cases, attorneys go for an hourly fee from the losing side! Thus, there are many possibilities.