If you’ve been injured in an accident, one of the first things on your mind might be “how much is an injury attorney going to cost me?” Understanding how attorneys charge for their services can help you decide if hiring a lawyer is even worth it. Knowing what kind of value they can offer (and why legal assistance might actually save money!) can make a world of difference when deciding whether or not to pursue legal representation for your case. In this blog, we’ll answer your burning questions about personal injury lawyers and explain why getting the right professional support could end up being one of the best decisions of your life!
How are Attorneys Paid?
The Hourly Rate
The first is the traditional hourly fee basis. Family lawyers usually work on an hourly fee basis. An hourly fee means that the lawyer bills the client for every minute that she works on his case. The hourly rate is set by the attorney and is usually based on factors such as their experience, skill, and availability. Hourly rates can range from $150 per hour to over $1,000 per hour. Most hourly rate lawyers require that the client pay a retainer up front before they will do any work on the client’s case. The amount of the retainers vary, but can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Flat Fee
The second billing arrangement is the flat fee arrangement. Some criminal and immigration lawyers work under this type of payment structure. A flat fee means that the lawyer bills the client a one-time flat fee for undertaking their case. If the lawyer is able to resolve the matter with little work, then it is a windfall for the attorney. If the case is difficult to resolve and requires a lot of the attorney’s time, then it is a windfall for the client. Most lawyers who bill at a flat fee are very picky in what kind of case that they will choose because they do not want to lose money working too many hours on a case that they received a flat fee payment for.
The Contingency Fee
There are so many people with legitimate injuries who cannot afford to pay hourly to get the justice they deserve. Also, the attorney cannot reasonably predict his time or costs in many of these cases. Because of this, personal injury attorneys will work their case under what is known as a contingency fee agreement. So, let’s take a deeper dive into this common billing method.
What Does a Contingency Fee Really Mean?
The final type of payment arrangement is the contingency fee agreement. This is how most injury attorneys get paid. A contingency fee agreement means that the lawyer’s fee is dependent on the amount of money that the client recovers in the case. If the client does not receive any money, then the lawyer does not receive any money. Also, in addition to work on a contingency fee, most injury attorneys will also advance any fees and expenses that the case generates. What this means is that if the client does not get paid, not only is the lawyer not going to get any money for the work that he did in the case, but he’s also going to be out all the money that he advanced to the client to get the case to trial. Because the risky nature of a contingency fee payment structure, personal injury lawyers only take cases that they believe they can win.
A contingency fee agreement will specify the percentage that the attorney will receive of the client’s recovery. Personal Injury attorneys take anywhere from 33-45% of the money that the client recovers. Usually, a contingency fee agreement is 33% if the attorney is able to resolve your case without filing anything with the court, and increases to 40% if it is necessary to file a lawsuit to resolve the case.
Here is an example with some easy math.
You hire Pete, a Personal Injury Attorney, for a case in which you ultimately recover $100,000.00. You paid Pete nothing up front, but in the end, he is paid $33,000.00 from the money recovered. If the attorney expended $5,000.00 in pursuing the case, then he is reimbursed his expenses as well. After that, unpaid doctors’ bills and any outstanding liens have to be settled. If the doctors’ bills and liens totaled $20,000.00, then the client in this example pockets $42,000.00 in cash.
Case Review and Consultation
For the most part, Personal Injury attorneys offer free consultation where they will review your case and tell you whether or not your case qualifies for representation under a contingency fee agreement. If you would like to speak to an attorney about your personal injury case, then feel free to call our office at 817.523.1232 to schedule a time to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney, or you can complete the form below and our office will reach out to you within 24 hours to schedule a time to speak with the attorney.