Personal injury lawyers make up a lucrative arm of the 37 billion dollar legal services industry. That number has grown over the last decade and shows no signs of abating.
As the United States gets more populated, odds of injuries occurring on the road, at work, or anywhere in public go up, as will the odds that you will fall victim to these events. When adversity strikes, our recommendation is to contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.
But how much does a personal injury lawyer cost? Are personal injury lawyer fees worth the service they provide?
To answer those questions, below, our team breaks down everything you need to know about personal injury lawyer compensation so you can make an informed hiring decision.
Keep reading to fulfill your need to know!
Understanding The Contingency Fee Structure
Personal injury lawyers do not work off of the same fee structure as your standard attorney. Standard attorneys will have an hourly rate and will charge clients pre-payment (retainers) on a portion of how long they expect to be working right away.
Personal injury lawyers are different in that they’ll work with you without asking for any money upfront. Instead, they’ll get paid only on the contingency that they win you money and only by taking a chunk of the money they win.
This essentially makes injury attorneys free to work with.
The downside with the contingency model is that it makes lawyers extremely picky as to who they work with. No lawyer wants to work on contingency only to lose a case.
Adding in Expenses
In addition to their contingency fee, personal injury lawyers are also likely to collect money from your earnings to cover expenses they incurred while working your trial.
These expenses might include hiring a private investigator, getting outside legal help, or paying for certain types of evidence.
All of these expenses should be recorded for your review.
Contingency Fees Vary From Practice to Practice
There’s no one-size-fits-all contingency fee when it comes to injury defense. As a matter of fact, fees can vary widely from firm to firm.
This is why it’s important to weigh your legal options before landing on who you’re going to work with.
It may be that you can get similarly stellar legal services through a firm down the street at a 10% lower fee that could save you tens of thousands of dollars. You only know if you look so interview multiple legal candidates as you find an attorney.
25 percent to 40 percent is a standard fee range.
The Sliding Scale
Contingency fees usually aren’t flat. They slide based on the amount of time a law firm has to put into your case.
For example, if a lawyer sends a demand letter to a business for compensation and the business immediately agrees and pays out the demand, very little effort would have gone into seeing your case through to completion. Given that lack of effort, you’re likely to pay a much lower contingency commission.
On the other hand, if a case were to go through a trial, you’d pay whatever the top of your lawyer’s sliding scale of contingency figure is.
Firing Your Lawyer Mid-Case
Not every personal injury lawyer is the perfect fit for every client. Hopefully, you’re able to deduce this during your consultation as opposed to finding out after your lawyer has started working on your case.
If you decide to fire your attorney mid-case, you’re still going to have financial obligations to them. In your attorney’s contract, they likely specify that firing them entitles them to a lien on your future winnings. If you don’t pay this money, you’ll likely be sued for it.
The best way to avoid multiple lawyers taking a bite out of your case earnings is to be confident in your legal counsel before signing them onto your case.
When all is said and done with your case, your lawyer will receive a check from the opposition. Upon receipt, your lawyer should let you know that your check is in their possession.
Before you get too excited, know that this is when your lawyer will take out all applicable fees/expenses.
Fees need to be spelled out on paper so you can see exactly how much money was originally received by the opposition before your lawyer deducted their cut. Expenses that come out of what’s left should also be itemized for your review.
If you feel that more money was taken out of your winnings than you were anticipating, talk to your attorney. It has happened before that attorneys and their personal injury clients have ended up fighting in court over how much money was promised versus how much was received.
Is Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer Worth It at the Price?
After going through all of our personal injury attorney compensation information, you may be wondering if bringing on an attorney is worth your time. In our opinion, it certainly is.
While a personal injury lawyer does take a lot out of your earnings, it’s all money that you never had to begin with. Therefore, their services come at no new cost to you.
The big exception here is if you receive a settlement offer from your opposition that’s at or above your expectations straight-away. If you don’t feel a lawyer is likely to be able to get you much more than what you’re being offered, taking your offer without legal counsel could save you money.
Our team wishes you luck with any injuries you may be harboring. We also welcome you to read more of the newest content on our blog for additional legal guidance.