Each year, millions of people get injured, and 214,000 die from their injuries.
If you’ve been seriously hurt recently, you may be counting your lucky stars that you’re one of the ones who have survived. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear; you may be in lots of pain, have lots of medical bills, and might even need to miss work to recuperate.
If you’re considering getting professional help for compensation, then you may be wondering: how much does a personal injury lawyer cost?
As with most services, there isn’t a single straightforward answer. Read on to find out what affects the cost of a personal injury lawyer and what you can expect.
Most lawyers will allow you to hire them on a contingency fee basis. What does this mean?
Essentially, if they don’t win your case, they don’t take a cent from you. And if you do win, then they’ll take their fees as a cut from the final settlement.
In either case, you won’t have to pay any money upfront. While this can be a relief, it can still have you worried about just how much of the settlement you’ll have to give to your lawyer.
For most, personal injury attorneys will charge anywhere between 33-40% of your settlement. However, do note that you can negotiate and maybe get a lower contingency fee.
Another option is to agree on a sliding scale. For example, if your lawyer can negotiate with the other party and get you a settlement without having to go to court, then the contingency fee would be on the lower side (33%).
However, if you need to file a lawsuit and go to court, then the sliding scale would move up closer to 40%. And if you need to get to the trial stage, then it may even be higher than 40%.
Be Aware of Costs and Expenses
The contingency fee isn’t the only thing you should be looking out for. To present your case better, your lawyer may need to gather up evidence.
For example, if you were seriously injured in a truck wreck, your personal injury lawyer will need to get access to medical reports, police reports, depositions, and transcripts. They may also have to pay for postage and filing fees, and they’ll need to gather expert witnesses, investigators, and experts to support your case. As a result, they may have some travel expenses as well.
Not only does this cost your attorney money, but it also costs them time to set all this up. Because of this, they’ll charge you for these costs and expenses. Be aware that for some expert witnesses, you may have to pay several thousands of dollars for them.
However, it’s rare for them to charge you upfront for these things. Instead, like with the contingency fee, they’ll deduct these costs and expenses from your settlement.
Consider the Cost in Your Time
They say time is money, and it’s certainly true when it comes to working. Or in the case of your serious injury, not working. Even day counts when you’re not working and still have bills to pay; the longer it takes for you to get your settlement, the more in the red you’ll get.
Obviously, if your personal injury lawyer can get the other party to settle out of court, then you’ll receive payment pretty quickly. But should your case go all the way to court, it can take several years for you to actually be paid out.
While it’s not a fee or cost, per se, it’s still a direct impact on your income and ability to pay for necessities and any doctor visits. So keep this in mind to determine whether or not it’s worth it to pursue litigation.
Some Other Things to Keep in Mind
It might raise some red flags when your lawyer tells you they’ll receive the settlement check, not you. However, this is common practice; it’s to ensure they’ll be paid for their services. When they get the check, your attorney should contact you and also provide you with an itemized list so you’re clear on what they’ve deducted from the check.
Should you want to seek out another personal injury lawyer and switch to them for any reason, you have to be careful. Your original attorney has the right to sue both you and the defendant since they have a lien for both fees and expenses while working on your case.
To cover yourself, you should create a document saying the original personal injury lawyer agrees not to charge interest for the fees and expenses they’ve racked up while working on your case. Have them sign it, and then give it to the defendant before settlement to avoid any roadblocks in the future.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost? It Depends
So how much does a personal injury lawyer cost? As you can tell, it depends on a number of factors.
However, most will offer you structure payments and won’t take a penny from you unless they win your case. If you’re worried about finances and are hesitating to hire a lawyer based on that, you shouldn’t.
Just make sure you do your research and hire a lawyer The Sawaya Law Firm in Colorado Springs, CO whose terms you’re comfortable with. So long as everything is clear and laid out, you can get fair compensation for your injury and suffering, which can really help you out in the long term. Just be aware that whatever settlement you’re awarded, you’re looking at only actually receiving around 50% of it, due to fees, costs, and expenses deducted.
For more informative articles, please take a look at the rest of our blog posts.