What Is the Cost Of Hiring A Personal Injury Attorney?
After an accident, hiring a personal injury lawyer is the best investment you’ll ever make. With the right lawyer, you can ensure you have the necessary evidence to prove the defendant is responsible for your injuries. An attorney can also help you maximize your compensation.
However, the cost of hiring a lawyer often turns people away from researching their preferred attorney. In this article, we’ll discuss what determines the cost of a personal injury lawyer.
Personal Injury Lawyers and Contingency Fees
Most lawyers, including the ones you’ll find at Emroch & Kilduff personal attorneys, operate using “on contingency.” Lawyers who use this structure don’t require their clients to pay them hourly. Instead, they’ll charge you a percentage of your jury or settlement award.
If your lawyer loses the case, you aren’t required to pay them. This makes contingency lawyers the best choice for low-income earners to seek legal advice. What’s more, this fee structure incentivizes lawyers to win your case. Otherwise, they’ll be doing all that work for nothing.
Cost of Hiring a Contingency Lawyer
While the size of the fee will depend on several factors, the most apparent distinction comes from deciding between a settlement or lawsuit. If you’re suing the defendant, you have the final say over whether you want to accept a settlement. If you don’t, the suit goes to court.
Here’s how a contingency lawyer determines their fee based on your situation:
- Settlement: If you choose to settle, the lawyer will usually receive a third of the amount. Therefore, if you settle for $80,000, you have to give $26,400 to your attorney.
- Lawsuit: If you deny the settlement and go ahead with the lawsuit, the lawyer will receive anywhere from 40-50% of your suit. Therefore, if you won $160,000 from your suit, you have to give $72,000 to your attorney if they’re working for 45%.
While the percentage seems high, remember that they only get paid if you win your lawsuit.
Determining Factors of a Contingency Fee
Three key factors will give you an approximation of how much your attorney will take after you settle or win your lawsuit: experience (number of clients), skill, and complexity.
- Experience: An experienced attorney who’s won many cases and earned the respect of multiple clients will be much more expensive than a newbie lawyer fresh out of school.
- Skill: Skill and experience don’t necessarily go hand in hand, but they often do. An attorney who specializes in one part of the law is pricy due to their higher skill-set.
- Complexity: A complicated trial will be more expensive due to increasing court costs and expenses. These will be discussed further in the next section.
Lawyer fees aren’t all you’ll have to pay for; you’ll also have to shell out money for court costs.
Court Costs and Expenses
When a settlement goes to court, the prosecution has to pay for the court costs. In many cases, the defendant will pay your court fees if you win, but if you lose, you’ll be out of pocket for these expenses. What’s worse, you won’t have any winnings that you can use to settle up these costs.
Most personal injury claims settle, but if you don’t, you’ll be responsible for:
- Police reports
- Filing fees
- Expert witness fees
- Court reporter fees
- Medical record fees
- Copying charges
- Postage charges
- Trial exhibits
Some lawyers may give you a monthly bill as these costs occur, or they may keep track of them and deduct this cost from the total amount you receive after winning the case. You’ll also have to pay for creating trial exhibitions, which account for 10-15% of your reward.
This amount is difficult to estimate, but they’ll increase as the case drags on. In the end, you can expect to pay an additional $10-000-$15,000 in court costs, which may leave you with 40%.