When you are looking to hire an attorney, you may wonder how much it will cost. The cost of a lawyer’s services can be determined in a few ways. Before you agree to hire an attorney, you must understand their fee arrangement. Different types of cases have different fee agreements. If you have legal questions, then make sure to speak to an experienced attorney.
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The Types of Attorney Fee Arrangements
Different kinds of attorneys utilize different payment structures for their services. There are rules on what types of fee arrangements are allowed in different types of cases. The three main types of fee arrangements are flat fees, hourly fees, and contingency fees.
A flat fee is a single cost that both the attorney and client agree will cover the attorney’s work on a given case. Typically, this fee is collected upfront, and then the attorney provides the agreed-upon legal service. Flat fees are common in criminal cases and can be broken up to cover pre-trial representation and any trial expenses.
Hourly Fee Structure
An hourly fee structure bills a client for each hour their attorney spends on their case. This hourly fee can range wildly between attorneys. Some attorneys may charge $100 or less per hour for their services, while others can charge upwards of $500 an hour or more given their expertise. It is common to see an hourly rate of over $200 an hour for legal services. An hourly fee is common in divorce cases and other civil litigation.
Under a contingency fee arrangement, you only pay your attorney if your attorney recovers compensation for your case. Under a contingency fee arrangement, the attorney can cover any filing or other costs to pursue a claim.
The attorney will be paid an agreed-upon percentage of any winnings, minus the expenses necessary to bring the claim. Contingency fee arrangements are popular in personal injury cases and give accident victims access to representation without major up-front costs. Attorneys are not allowed to accept contingency fees for a criminal or divorce case in Texas.
What Else Can Be Included in a Contingency Fee Agreement?
There can be additional costs in a contingency fee agreement. It is important to understand what these fees are and if you will owe these fees upfront. For example, it might be necessary for your attorney to hire an expert witness to prove your claim. If this is a possibility, then it is important to determine who will pay that expert witness their upfront cost.
A contingency fee agreement can also include document fees as well as any potential trial fees. If your contingency fee agreement states that your attorney will cover all of these fees, then you can have professional representation for nothing out-of-pocket.
Why Use Contingency Fees?
Most injury victims have severe financial limitations. They may even be dealing with extensive medical bills and lost wages. A contingency fee agreement allows victims to pursue quality legal representation without worrying whether they can afford an attorney.
A contingency fee agreement also incentivizes an attorney to get the highest amount of money possible for their clients. The more money an attorney wins for their client, the more money they earn for their services. Under an hourly or a flat fee, the attorney gets paid regardless of if they win or lose. The contingency fee is the only legal fee arrangement that is based on an outcome. Under Texas law, a contingency fee generally cannot be more than 35%.
How Do I Pay Contingency Fee?
When your personal injury lawyer wins money for your case, the settlement check will go through several steps before it makes it to you at the end. Checks are required to be mailed to your attorney’s office, where the necessary disbursements are made. All court costs and attorneys’ fees are taken from the compensation award before it is issued to you.
When you receive your check, you will not owe any more legal fees. If you are curious about how a contingency fee agreement might work in your case, contact a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer.