If you have been in an accident or suffered another type of personal injury, you may feel overwhelmed by the sudden turn of events and the associated stress. You may be facing:
- Extensive medical care and rehabilitation,
- Lost time from work,
- A pile of bills and complicated forms,
- Calls from insurance companies pressuring you to settle your claim,
- Mental and emotional distress
and you may have no idea how you will handle it all. A compassionate personal injury lawyer can help you address all of these issues and more, once you decide to work with the best injury attorney for you.
Unfortunately, many people have the misconception that they can’t afford an experienced attorney and may hesitate to reach out and learn the truth. The longer you wait to bring an injury claim, the harder it will be to prove your case and recover the compensation you deserve.
So, How Much Do Lawyers Cost?
The good news is you CAN afford to work with a personal injury attorney to pursue compensation for your losses. Regardless of your income level or available cash, most injury lawyers offer different fee arrangements that make it possible for all people who were injured by another person’s negligence or carelessness to bring a claim for compensation.
How Much Does a Lawyer Charge?
Lawyers typically operate on two different types of billing methods—contingency and hourly.
Many lawyers, including the personal injury lawyers at Berry Law, offer their clients a contingency fee arrangement. That means the lawyer doesn’t get paid until they successfully recover compensation for you.
This is beneficial for you as a client, because it means you won’t be placed under financial duress if your case is unsuccessful or you don’t recover as much as you hoped. Pursuant to a contingency fee payment plan, you ultimately pay a percentage of your recovery to your attorney for the legal work performed while you receive the rest.
The percentage amount you will be responsible to pay should be included in your initial attorney-client engagement contract. You should discuss all fee issues with your attorney at the very start of your relationship to avoid unexpected payment surprises at the end of your case.
The percentage of the contingency fee can be calculated in one of two ways.
- Attorney’s fees can be determined as a percentage of the gross judgement and deducted from the total amount of the settlement, verdict, or the total award before legal expenses are deducted, or
- The percentage may be calculated and deducted from the net judgement amount which is the remaining award after all allowable expenses such as court costs, expert witness payments, and other agreed-upon expenditures have been deducted.
How Much Does it Cost to Get a Lawyer in Areas Other Than Personal Injury?
Some injury lawyers and most lawyers who practice in areas of law other than personal injury operate under a standard hourly fee or flat fee arrangement regardless of the case outcome. These fee arrangements are typically seen in civil cases that don’t involve injuries – such as family law (divorce), estate planning, and real estate.
Most law firms that use hourly fee arrangements require a sizeable retainer payment upfront and regular monthly payments throughout the representation. A flat fee is most often charged in advance and the account balance is reduced as the lawyer earns the fee during the case.
How Much is a Lawyer Consultation Fee?
Again, in most personal injury situations, reputable lawyers and law firms offer free consultations and case evaluations at the start. A free consultation is a great way for you to ask questions about your unique circumstances and determine if that attorney is the right fit for your needs. At the same time, the lawyer can answer all of your questions, explain your legal rights, and decide if they want to accept your case.
In non-injury cases, most law firms charge for initial consultations. The firm may have a set rate for a one-hour meeting, or charge by the hour from the very first encounter. Outside of personal injury claims, attorneys who handle most other types of legal issues do not offer free consultations.
How Much Does a Lawyer Charge?
The amount of fees that lawyers charge in any type of case can 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
- The resources required to complete the case
- The value of the case
- Prior legal relationship between the client and the lawyer
- Whether there is a potential for trial and/or appeal
In personal injury matters, the last factor can play a large role in determining how much a lawyer costs. Legal expenses can vary based on whether or not the personal injury claim settles through negotiations, is filed as an official lawsuit in civil court, or actually goes to trial.
Many cases settle outside of court, without ever filing a formal complaint against the wrongdoer in civil court. This can happen if the person who injured you, or their insurance company, complies with the demand letter sent by your attorney and offers full payment as requested. Injury claims can also be resolved after months of negotiations between your lawyer and the insurance adjuster representing the responsible party.
However, if a formal lawsuit is filed and the claim does go to a full trial, legal expenses will naturally increase with the addition of court paperwork, legal processes, court appearances, and other expenses associated with preparing for trial. For example, your injury attorney will be required to gather and produce supporting evidence such as:
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Expert witness opinions and testimony
- Filing fees
- Trial exhibits
The costs of litigation will vary depending on what it takes to reach a fair resolution. It’s best to discuss the financial aspects of your particular case at the very start so you can fully understand how much lawyers cost.
Instead of Worrying How Much Does a Lawyer Cost, Let Berry Law Answer Your Questions
The legal industry is an area where you usually get what you pay for. The cheapest option among qualified personal injury law firms 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.
At Berry Law, our lawyers will explain our contingent legal fee arrangement and other potential litigation costs so that you have a clear understanding of the true cost of legal representation in your specific case. Remember, when it comes to your financial future, you may pay much more in the end if you try to resolve your case on your own, than the amount you might pay when you partner with Berry Law.
Contact us today for a free consultation and to learn the truth about how much lawyers cost.