You were the one who got injured and suffered property damage. You’re the one struggling to recover.
Yet, you’re the one who has to fight for your rightful compensation from the responsible party. That means you’re also the one who has to hire a lawyer and pay the initial lawyer fees.
It’s a headache — but it’s worth it to take the time to learn about the different types of lawyer fees before you need one. Read on to get all the details.
Types of Lawyer Fees
Did you know that not all lawyers charge the same fees? The type of case you have, the amount of consultation you need, and the lawyer’s status all impact their fees.
Here is an overview of the different types of lawyer fees you may encounter:
- Flat fees
- Hourly fees
- Referral fees
- Consultation fee
- Contingency fees
- Statutory fees
- Retainer fees
That’s a lot of fees! Let’s breakdown what each of them is, and why you’re expected to pay them.
Flat fees are a total specific amount. These often apply to simple, easy-to-execute cases that won’t go to court.
Hourly fees get charged when consultations will be lengthy. This is the most common way lawyers get paid. Referral fees may apply when one lawyer refers you to another.
Statutory fees are set by the court, but they usually don’t apply to personal injury claims.
Retainers are a form of down payment for future fees. It means your lawyer will be on-call and ready to assist when needed. Consultation fees are sometimes charged during your initial meeting about your case.
Contingency fees are a percentage of your winning settlement in court.
Making an Arrangement With Your Attorney
All these fees are enough to make your head swirl. That’s why it’s important to have a one-on-one talk with any attorney you’re thinking of hiring.
Ask them about their fees before you agree to let them represent you. If you’re unclear about any charges, then ask about them upfront.
Often, an auto accident attorney will work with you to help reduce your fees.
If you have a good case, then an attorney may choose to waive certain fees and stick to a contingency plan.
Sometimes, you won’t have to pay out anything until you win your settlement in court.
Will My Case Results Impact my Fees?
What happens if you lost your case in court? Will all the money you gave your attorney be non-refundable?
In short, it depends on the arrangement you made.
All attorneys must have you sign an agreement in writing, so your terms will be clear from the start. Most car accident attorneys work on a flat fee basis. Any set fees you pay out can’t get returned after the fact.
But, if you agreed to work on a contingency fee basis and you lose, then your attorney won’t get paid either.
Are Your Fees Fair?
Experts estimate everyone will get into three or four accidents over their lifetime. When it happens to you, you’ll want to have a foundation of knowledge about lawyers and lawyer fees.
This information will prevent you from getting taken advantage of. While rare, shark-like lawyers do exist and prey on accident victims. Don’t let it happen to you.
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