The cost of hiring a lawyer is associated with many misconceptions that may cause people to hesitate before pursuing a personal injury claim. Lawyers typically operate on two different types of billing methods. Many lawyers, including the injury lawyers at Berry Law, operate on a contingency fee: that is, they don’t get paid unless you win your case. This is beneficial to the client, as it means you won’t be placed under financial duress if you lose your case. A contingency fee payment plan will ultimately mean that a percentage of your winnings will go to your attorney; this percentage amount will be included in your client contract and should be discussed with your attorney to avoid unexpected payment following the end of a case.
The percentage of the contingency fee can also be decided in one of two ways: they’re decided as a percentage of the gross judgement, or the total award before legal expenses are deducted, or the net judgement, the total award after legal expenses have been deducted.
Other lawyers operate using a standard hourly fee or flat fee regardless of case outcome. These payment plans are typically involved in civil cases that don’t include injury – such as family law (divorce), estate planning, and real estate.
The amount of fees that lawyers charge depend on several factors including:
- Size of the law firm
- Experience level of the lawyer
- The location of legal services
- The practice area
- Nature of the case
- Complexity of the case
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Legal expenses can vary based on whether or not the personal injury claim goes to trial – many cases settle outside of court, without ever filing a formal complaint against the wrongdoer. This happens if the person who injured you complies with the demand letter sent by your attorney. However, if a formal complaint is filed and the claim does go to court, legal expenses will naturally increase with the addition of court paperwork, processes, and other expenses associated with producing evidence such as:
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Expert witness fees
- Filing fees
- Trial exhibits
The legal industry is an area where oftentimes, you get what you pay for- that is, the cheapest option may not always be your best option. When making the decision to hire an attorney, you should take the time to explore your options and make a thoughtful decision. Request that your potential lawyer discuss both legal fees and other potential litigation costs so that you have a clear understanding of the true cost of legal representation.