What Does it Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
What Does it Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering resulting from your accident.
You can typically do so by filing a claim or lawsuit to collect from the negligent party’s insurance. However, insurance companies are not always inclined to offer claimants what they deserve. In some instances, they look for justification to deny claims altogether.
This is one of many reasons it’s a good idea to hire a personal injury lawyer in these circumstances. A personal injury attorney can handle the claims and lawsuit process on your behalf, allowing you to focus on your recovery. Perhaps more important, they will have the skills to negotiate a fair settlement. This optimizes your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve.
Some injury victims are reluctant to hire a personal injury attorney. They may believe that they can’t afford the additional expense of a lawyer. However, hiring a personal injury attorney can be much more affordable than you may realize. This guide will explain what you need to know.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Attorney Charge?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that instead of charging an hourly rate, their fee is a percentage of the compensation they recover for you. Usually, attorneys charge between 33% and 40% of the compensation recovered.
An attorney doesn’t have to charge the same percentage for every case. Some cases are more complex, contentious, or have tight time constraints. Attorneys may adjust their fee accordingly.
Some factors that could affect the percentage an attorney charges include:
- The time and effort required to handle a case
- The amount of compensation expected to be recovered
- Whether the case is expected to settle or if the lawyer will need to take the case to trial
Generally, there isn’t one universal fee that a personal injury lawyer may charge. Their fee will depend on the specific details of a case.
What Are the Benefits of the Contingency Fee System?
One of the obvious benefits of the contingency fee model is that it eliminates the financial risk a client might otherwise take when hiring an attorney. Under the contingency fee model, an attorney will not charge legal fees unless they first recover compensation for their client.
An injured victim is probably facing financial difficulties such as medical bills and lost wages. With a contingent fee, they don’t have the added financial burden of spending money to hire a lawyer when there’s no guarantee of winning a case.
When an attorney’s fee is a percentage of the compensation they recover for a client, they are not motivated to accept cases they don’t believe they can win. When they do take on a case, they are motivated to pursue all possible avenues for compensation for their clients.
Are There Limits to What a Personal Injury Attorney Can Charge?
The rules of the State Bar of Texas Bar regulate how much an attorney can charge a client, but not by setting specific limits. These rules establish that an attorney can’t charge a client a fee that would be deemed excessive or unreasonable by any competent lawyer.
Some factors that go into determining whether a fee is reasonable are:
- Complexity of the case
- Whether the case prevents the lawyer from taking on any other work
- The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services;
- The fee in relation to the results obtained
- The nature and length of the professional relationship with the client;
- Qualifications of the lawyer
So, there’s no set rate on what a personal injury lawyer can charge. But under the circumstances specific to your case, the fee must be reasonable based on a number of factors.
Are There Any Upfront Costs Involved in Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Different lawyers have different approaches to charging clients for expenses that their firms may incur as a result of taking on a case. When representing a client, a lawyer may incur expenses for:
- Court costs
- Investigations into accidents
- Expert witness testimony
- Medical examinations
- Deposition costs
Some lawyers require clients to cover these costs upfront before agreeing to proceed with a case. Others cover the costs themselves, and then deduct them from the final amount of compensation they recover before charging clients legal fees.
There are merits to both approaches. Regardless, it’s important that you be certain you can afford an attorney’s services before you agree to hire them. Make sure they’ve provided you with a thorough explanation of their fees before you sign any contracts. If an attorney offers a contract that seems to be unreasonably vague in regard to the way it explains their fee arrangement, you may want to consider looking for a different lawyer to represent you.
Does the Type of Case I Have Affect an Attorney’s Fees?
It might. Again, an attorney will typically account for the amount of time they may need to spend on a case when deciding how much to ultimately charge a client.
For example, perhaps you’ve been involved in a relatively minor car accident in which it is clear the other driver was negligent. This type of case may be one that an attorney can handle fairly quickly without needing to conduct a significant investigation or coordinate with numerous experts.
On the other hand, perhaps you are filing an aviation injuries claim after being harmed in an accident involving a plane or other type of aircraft. These cases can be very complex. A lawyer may have to spend a significant amount of time and leverage substantial resources to identify all liable parties.
For example, the accident could have been the result of pilot error, but it could have also occurred because the designers or manufacturers of an aircraft failed to properly identify a defect. Handling this type of case places major demands on a lawyer and their firm. They may adjust their fee arrangement accordingly.
In addition, Texas law limits the amount of damages recoverable in medical malpractice lawsuits. While this cap on compensation doesn’t specifically limit what a personal injury attorney can charge, it could mean that the attorney might charge a higher contingency percentage for this type of case.
None of that is meant to suggest that an attorney will charge unreasonably high rates. On the contrary, these examples illustrate how personal injury lawyers strive to determine what constitutes a fair fee arrangement based on the unique details of every case they take on.
If you’re not sure why a lawyer has chosen the fee arrangement they present to you, ask them to explain their reasoning. A lawyer worth hiring will be one who is willing to explain their approach in a way that helps you better understand the factors influencing their decision.
Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Stephens Law works hard to ensure that fee agreements are fair and appropriate based on the nature of your case. Contact our Fort Worth personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation.