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Personal Injury Lawyer Costs: What Factors into an Attorney’s Fees? 

By: Anapol Weiss

Uncertainty about personal injury lawyer cost leads far too many people to hold off on getting the legal help they need until their case has been damaged inadvertently. It’s important to understand that a good attorney can make all the difference in a successful personal injury case, whether it goes to trial or a settlement is negotiated before a suit is ever filed. In many cases, a better question than “How much does a personal injury lawyer cost?” would be how much it will cost to not have one.

Attorney Cost Structures

Your lawyer will work hard on your case, and many attorney’s fees aren’t for your lawyer directly, but for the staff and overhead involved in being able to offer the services they provide. This can make the cost of a personal injury lawyer not insignificant, although that cost may be reflected in one of several ways.

Hourly Rates

Hourly rates break down your cost based on billable hours worked. This expense can vary from lawyer to lawyer, even within a single law firm, based on their experience, specialty in the area of law, and the demand for their services. The hourly rate for an attorney ranges from around $200 to $700 an hour or more.

Flat Rate

This structure sets a flat fee for services, and is rarely seen for personal injury lawyer costs for full representation. More often it is seen when a lawyer is providing a service that can be used in a personal injury claim, such as reviewing a release of liability from the defendant, when a client does not want to engage an attorney’s full services. This fee can vary based on the services, from several hundred dollars for simple reviews to thousands of dollars for more extensive services.

Contingency Percentage

The most common personal injury lawyer cost structure is a percentage based fee. Usually ranging from 30-40% of the settlement amount, This structure helps incentivize your attorney to work for the best possible settlement, whether through negotiations or trial. Under this structure, since there is no payment without a settlement, lawyers will accept cases with merit, helping plaintiffs avoid fees for cases that aren’t likely to see results.

Other Financial Considerations When Choosing An Attorney

While how much a personal injury lawyer does cost is an important part of choosing an attorney, you also need to make sure you understand when that money will be due and how other fees will be handled.

  • Reasonable Expenses – Pursuing a personal injury claim involves more than just the attorney’s fees, as court filing fees, document fees, and payments to processors add up. While some attorneys will cover the cost of these in the moment and bill the client after the fact, others may expect the client to pay as these expenses arise.

  • Remittance Expectations – You need to understand when and how your attorney expects to be paid. A deposit or retainer for services may be due upfront, incidental fees might be billed as they occur, or they may only collect money directly from your settlement when it’s paid.

How To Determine The Cost Of A Personal Injury Lawyer

Every attorney’s cost is different, but the cost to find out more about their pricing for clients is often the same: free. Many law firms, including Anapol Weiss, offer a free initial consultation. This gives the attorney a chance to get to know the specifics of your claim, understand the merits of a potential case, and set the proper expectations with you for any potential first steps forward or outcome. It’s also a chance to talk to them about the personal injury lawyer cost structure they use.

As part of the initial consultation, your attorney should talk to you about their expectations for you, both in the handling of matters related directly to the case and in how your business relationship together will proceed. This is when you can and should ask questions about their pricing structure for attorney’s fees, how other expenses are managed, and when and how they will expect to be paid. Be careful, however, about looking only at the price tag when choosing an attorney.

Finding The Right Personal Injury Attorney

An attorney who offers a cheaper rate isn’t worth it if they don’t offer you the best chance to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve. Frequently, contingency pricing, where you only pay if a settlement is reached, or offices that cover incidental expenses upfront and recoup them from final settlement amounts will come with a higher price tag because they face a higher financial risk in representing you. They also have a greater incentive to fight for the maximum award of damages.

Along with your potential personal injury lawyer’s cost, ask them the hard questions about their ability to represent your interests when negotiating or in court.

  • General Experience – You want to make sure you’re choosing a lawyer who is comfortable not just in the office but also in the courtroom. Get an understanding of how many years they’ve been practicing not just as a lawyer but also as a trial lawyer.

  • Specialized Experience – You’ll also want to find out if they have specialized knowledge or a dedicated track record in your case’s niche. As an example, an attorney who works primarily with medical malpractice would be a great choice for a malpractice suit but may not offer the same level of expertise when dealing with premises liability.

  • References – While attorney-client privilege may prevent a Lawyer from talking about previous cases, it doesn’t prevent their clients. Many law firms have compiled reviews and references from people whose cases they’ve fought and won for.

Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Who Will Win Your Case

One of the best decisions you can make to protect your rights to compensation after a personal injury accident is choosing the right lawyer to pursue the compensation you deserve. Your case will become your attorney’s cause as they fight to get a settlement that helps you rebuild your life while keeping your personal injury lawyer cost reasonable. Contact Anapol Weiss for your free initial consultation today.