The job attorneys do may be similar but their fees are not always the same. In fact, they can vary depending on several factors including how difficult the case is and how experienced the attorney that represents you. Lawyer’s fees may also vary depending on the time they spent working on your case.
What does this all mean? Well, it means that there is no universal fixed fee that you pay for legal representation in a personal injury case. It also means that you may end up with legal fees you were unaware of in the beginning.
Understanding the various lawyer’s fees will help you understand what services you’re actually paying for. Thanks to this knowledge, you can make better decisions that won’t affect you.
In this post, we will help clarify the difference between lawyer’s fees in personal injury cases.
Some lawyers may charge a consultation fee. This is a fee for the first meeting in which they learn about your case, ask questions to better understand your situation, and determine whether they can help you. Many lawyers won’t charge any consultation fee but it is important to be prepared before you meet your lawyer. Verify whether they charge this fee before you schedule a consultation.
Lawyers sometimes charge a flat fee for their services in personal injury cases. In this way, the client knows exactly how much they will pay in advance. However, a flat fee agreement is typically used in relatively simple cases in which lawyers can predict how much time and effort they will have to invest.
This type of fee is often used to meet the needs of a client. It should be noted that a flat fee does not always include any legal expenses arising from the lawsuit. This is something you need to discuss with your lawyer before you sign anything.
A contingency fee is a method of billing that lawyers in personal injury cases often use. Most clients can’t afford to pay an hourly fee or upfront fee for legal representation in a personal injury lawsuit. This is why lawyers agree to take on a personal injury case with no money in the beginning. Instead, they take a percentage of your settlement money once you win your case. This means that the client has no upfront costs but can still afford to have legal representation.
In this case, the lawyer and the client reach a contingency fee agreement in which they both agree that if the client loses the case, they don’t owe anything to the lawyer. However, if they win, the lawyer is entitled to a percentage of the settlement amount.
The lawyer covers all legal expenses while the case is ongoing such as a filing fee and getting a copy of the medical records, etc.
This is a very practical solution for clients on a tight budget but unfortunately, not all lawyers will agree to a contingency fee. Additionally, we must mention that a contingency fee is not necessarily cheap. A lawyer who accepts your case under these terms is taking a risk. They also need to cover legal bills related to the lawsuit. This is why in most cases, lawyers take about 33% of the settlement amount. Albeit, this percentage can be higher depending on the stage your case is in. If your case is settled before you file a lawsuit in court, the contingency fee may be significantly lower than 33%. But keep in mind that the contingency fee may go up as the case progresses. If it reaches the trial stage, the lawyer may take up to 40% or more of the settlement award.
The contingency fee is calculated after your lawyer is reimbursed for the legal expenses they covered along the way. For example, if they spent $2,000 on legal expenses, they would first subtract that amount from the settlement, and then take 33% of what is left.
This means that clients don’t always walk home with a significant amount of money from their personal injury lawsuit settlements.
Additional expenses that may arise from a lawsuit include but are not limited to:
- Filing fees
- Medical records
- Police records
These additional expenses vary from case to case depending on its complexity and how long it takes to settle.
Your lawyer may require an upfront payment for these predicted costs or they may subtract the amount later, when a settlement is reached, depending on what you initially agreed. In most personal injury cases, the lawyer will cover these expenses as they emerge and then deduct them from the amount awarded to you.
What Is the Maximum Amount Your Lawyer Can Take?
As we previously said, there isn’t always a fixed amount you pay for the legal services. It is expressed in percentages and typically amounts to about 33.33% of the settlement. In most cases, your lawyer cannot take more than this.
However, the details regarding the fee and additional costs are stated in the agreement signed between the client and lawyer. Make sure that you understand the details of this agreement including the fine print.
Your lawyer will explain the fees to you as well as how much you can expect to get.
In some cases, it is possible that the lawyer takes 40% of the settlement but this depends on the case and the agreement you signed.
Your Lawyer Receives the Settlement Check
Once the case is settled, the settlement check is typically sent to your lawyer. Among other reasons, this ensures that your lawyer is compensated for their services.
When your lawyer receives the check, they will contact you, and present you with a list of deducted expenses (including their fee as well as other related costs).
Apply for a Lawsuit Loan
Finding a good, experienced lawyer is essential for the success of your case. We know that many personal injury plaintiffs can’t afford to hire legal representation and, therefore, settle for whatever amount is offered. The good news is that you can do better than this.
Rapid Lawsuit Funding can give you a loan to cover legal and other fees and fight for fair compensation that you deserve. Apply today to get your lawsuit loan and win your case!