How Do I Pay for My Personal Injury Lawyer?

Finding a professional lawyer for a personal injury case requires a good budget. A personal injury lawyer charges different types of legal fees. Common expenses incurred include consultation fees, court expenses, payment for witnesses, and police/medical report costs. 

Note that personal injury attorneys do not consider the mentioned expenses as their payment. The costs facilitate investigations to find adequate evidence that aids compensation. Understanding such information is key to helping the clients avoid getting overwhelmed financially. 

How to Pay a Personal Injury Attorney

Scheduling a consultation with the attorneys is the best way of understanding how to pay them. Reputable legal experts discuss the fee structures with the clients to avoid unnecessary inconveniences later. The fee structure depends on several factors: the lawyer’s experience, the case’s strength/weakness, and work policy.

Here is a straightforward and complete guide on how one should pay a personal injury legal specialist.

Contingency Fee Agreements

Contingency fees are the most common payment options required by personal injury attorneys. The client pays the lawyer the agreed percentage only when the case becomes successful. 

There must be a fixed percentage agreement between the legal service provider and the client. Often, personal injury lawyers get paid from the compensations awarded to the clients. Commonly, the percentage ranges between 33 percent to 40 percent of the compensation amount. The lack of upfront fees makes injury attorneys the most affordable legal experts to the clients. 

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The lawyers cater to all the expenses until the case is won. As a result, plaintiffs enjoy peace of mind and a non-financially strenuous legal process. Contingency fee agreements prevent the attorneys from creating back traps. So, one does not have to worry about the attorney’s hidden fees or other percentage additions.

Some personal injury lawyers will offer a sliding scale contingency agreement. This means the fee percentage will increase as the case progresses. If the case is solved before a lawsuit needs to be filed, then the percentage will be lower, like 25 percent. But if the case goes to trial and the plaintiff wins, the fee may be higher, around 40 percent.

Hourly Billing

Some personal injury attorneys charge an hourly rate for legal services. Together with the clients, the lawyers calculate the total case hours. 

Several reasons make per hour billing a preferred payment method. First, the method motivates the lawyers to keep on with the case till the end. Hourly rates also allow the attorneys to handle increased paperwork whenever needed. Basically, per-hour billing creates room for flexibility.

To the clients, hourly fees are understandable and clear. There is clarity that more legal services come with a higher cost. On the contrary, rates charged per hour make many people spend more than their budgets on personal injury legal services. 

Flat Fee Agreements 

In flat fees, the attorneys have to be clear on the legal services they are to provide. A proper estimation of the needed workload by the attorney is necessary. Note that the clients cater to all other costs not included in the flat fees. 

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There are several advantages of flat fee agreements. One of them is that the attorneys get all the money upfront; they don’t have to chase the clients for payments. Unlike hourly rates, one does not have to keep paying the lawyer. Flat fees involve one payment, which many clients find affordable and less stressful. 

Retainer Fee Agreements

Clients pay retainer fees upfront to secure the legal services of injury attorneys. The lawyers use the paid money to cater to the costs incurred during the case.

Note that the attorneys can spend all the funds in retainer accounts before the case ends. In such situations, the clients have to keep the case moving with their own cash. So, retainer fee agreements mostly work to the attorney’s favor and not the plaintiff’s advantage.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

Hiring a personal injury lawyer comes with many benefits. One key benefit is that the clients get fair compensation. The attorneys work with the insurance companies to ensure that one gets a defendant’s insurance carrier.  

Before making the payment, the client should understand the lawyer’s fee structure first. It’s important to choose personal injury attorneys that provide a complete breakdown of the fee structure.

Johnny Thompson

Johnny Thompson is a senior reporter for Generator Research in Los Angeles, reporting on technology, business, finances, and more. He previously worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and got his start at newspapers in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

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