One of the reasons a lot of accident victims are afraid to call an attorney is because they think it'll cost too much. They assume that their bills will be paid by insurance. There's no way they can possibly pay a personal injury lawyer when they're already worrying about how to pay to get their car fixed. They're also afraid they'll be up to their necks in sky-high medical bills. What a lot of them don't realize is that you can hire personal injury attorneys without paying any bills upfront. If your monthly bills are piling up and your insurance claim is denied, this may be your best option.
It wouldn't be fair to say that it doesn't cost you anything to hire a personal injury lawyer. Technically, this is true. You do not pay a penny when you hire your attorney. However, when your case settles with the insurance company, your attorney will have to be paid. They're going to be entitled to a certain percent of your settlement proceeds. They're also going to be entitled to reimbursement for any costs they paid for legal action on your behalf.
The question, naturally, is why wouldn't you want to hire a lawyer? If you don't have to pay any costs upfront, it's a win-win, right? The truth is that the decision of whether to hire a personal injury lawyer is entirely up to you. If you have a very small claim, it may not make sense to hire a top-rate attorney. It may not be wortht he effort. By the time they take their lawyer contingency fee and are reimbursed for costs, you may not see a dime. However, if your claim is at least a few thousand dollars, it's something worth considering. Also, since the insurance carrier has a lawyer, they could be at an advantage. You increase your odds of receiving payment for your injuries from the other party if you retain counsel.
Here, we'll discuss how much it costs to hire personal injury attorneys. This article will also explain how your attorney bills are paid. This way, you have a full understanding of where your settlement proceeds will go. You'll have the information you need to make an educated decision about whether you need legal help. Your Initial Consultation is Absolutely Free
In the days and hours after your accident, you're going to feel a lot of things. First, you'll probably be in a bit of shock. Car accidents and falls happen every day, but they don't always happen to you. It can be scary. You have no idea if the other party will do the right thing and offer you the compensation you need to pay your bills. If you suffer serious injuries, then you're also going to be in a lot of pain and suffering. Depending on what kind of medical care you'll need, there's a chance you'll be out of work. Unfortunately, your bills won't stop. Knowing that some of this time won't be covered by PTO, you may be worried about money. One way to wrap your head around all that is going on is to meet with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
The good news is that almost all personal injury attorneys offer their potential clients a free, initial consultation. You can go into their office and spend a half-hour or so talking to someone who's handled cases like yours before. Whether you meet with an attorney or their paralegal, you'll get the chance to sit with someone who knows how lawsuits and the legal process works. They can answer any questions you may have. They'll also answer a few questions of their own. They need to get a handle on whether you have a valid claim.
The great thing about this free, initial consultation is that it gives you a chance to get a feel for your lawyer. This first meeting is almost like a job interview. You're interviewing the injury attorney to see if you want to hire them. At the same time, they're interviewing you. They want to see if you have the kind of case they would want to handle. The lawyer-client relationship works both ways. You have to be happy with your lawyer. Your attorneys also need to be willing to represent you.
If the initial consultation goes well, you'll have to decide. If you choose to hire the attorney once you meet, they'll need you to sign a retainer and contingency fee agreement. This agreement will outline exactly how your personal injury lawyer will get paid on a contingency fee basis. It also outlines what your obligations are under the relationship.
Personal injury attorneys are required to outline all of their attorney contingency fees in the retainer agreement. They also need to highlight their responsibilities under the contract. You should read it carefully before you sign it. If you have any questions, ask. Your attorneys aren't trying to hide anything. For the most part, these agreements are pretty standard. Your attorney will front any costs involved with your lawsuit. This could include any of the following:
- Simple things like postage, copying costs, and other supplies for your personal injury claim
- Injury lawyer fees for depositions, court reporters, and meeting room costs if applicable
- Any expert witness fees, including travel and lodging where required
- Filing fees, service fees, and courier services
- Litigation costs
- Attorney travel expenses
- Medical expert expenses
- Administrative expenses and any additional costs they deem reasonable
These fees tend to add up. That's why it's always a good idea to consider settling your case rather than going to trial. There's another reason for this - your attorney's contingency fee.
The biggest fee your personal injury lawyer will collect is their contingency fee. When your case settles, your attorney will get a certain percent of your proceeds. This percentage is typically 33%. However, most retainer agreements state that this percent will increase to 40% if the case goes to trial. You don't want to pay these additional monies if you don't have to.
As a Client, You Do Not Pay Any Upfront Legal Costs
As explained above, you won't be responsible for paying any fees upfront. That doesn't mean you won't even have to pay them. When your case settles, monies owed to your attorney will come right off the top. Any fees that must be paid to your injury law firm will be added to their contingency fee arrangement. This amount is deducted from your personal injury award proceeds before anything else. It's important you keep this in the back of your mind as your case moves along. There will be times when you and your personal injury attorney are brainstorming what to do next when the matter of costs will come up. Your accident lawyers may be leaning toward an accident settlement negotiation with the defendant's attorney or the insurance company. You may insist that you hire an accident reconstruction expert to prove the defendant was at fault instead. Experts can cost thousands of dollars. You don't want to spend this kind of money if you don't have to. It's like buying things on credit. If you don't really need it, you shouldn't buy it. Just because you aren't paying for it now, that doesn't mean you won't have got pay for it later.
Settling Your Case is Often a Good Option
Throughout the course of your case, your personal injury lawyers will give you updates. When they talk to the defendant's attorneys, they'll let you know what transpires. From the very beginning of your case, your attorney will be attempting to negotiate a settlement of your lawsuit. This starts from the moment your initial insurance claim is denied. Depending on the reason for the denial, your attorney may have a good shot at getting the claim paid. For example, if the insurance adjuster claims that you were at fault, your lawyer will submit evidence demonstrating that their client caused the crash. The insurance company may allege that you didn't suffer any serious injuries. Your medical records can prove that this isn't the case.
If your attorneys can't get your claim paid, they'll have no choice but file suit on your behalf. When they do this, the defendant will see that you're serious. This could be all the motivation they need to open settlement negotiations. Ideally, in the weeks after your case is filed, the other side will realize that it's in their best interest to settle the case out of court.
Nobody wants to go to trial. Not only are they expensive, but they're also time-consuming. It can take months or even years to go to trial. The courts are backed up during the best of times. With the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, the court's dockets are backed up like never before. The judge is going to encourage both sides to talk about a settlement. In fact, they'll likely order the two sides to go to mediation to reach an agreement. This way, the case can be marked closed, and the judge won't have to schedule a trial down the road.
Your Personal Injury Attorney Will Also Be Paid a Certain Percentage of Your Settlement
Your personal injury attorneys will fight to get you as much money as possible. They understand that the more money you get, the more money their firm will make. However, their ultimate goal is to make sure that you're made whole. Any settlement offer they accept will have to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses. It also must cover any medical expenses that have already been covered by your primary health insurance companies. They'll expect to be paid within days of your settlement check being cut.
When your personal injury lawyer receives a settlement offer from the insurance company, they're required to communicate that offer to you. If it's too low, you have the right to reject it. In fact, unless your compensation offer covers all of your damages, you can refuse to accept the settlement. You can insist on taking your case to trial. Just because your lawyer is satisfied with the settlement figure, that doesn't mean they'll force their client to accept it. Ultimately, their job is to look out for your best interests. All they can do is recommend that you accept a settlement offer. They can't and won't give you a hard time if you want to push for more money. Just keep in mind that there are certain risks if you go to trial.
Trials aren't good for anyone. Not only are they expensive, but there's always the chance that you could lose. If you lose in court, you get nothing. Your attorney gets nothing. The other possibility is that you end up accepting a settlement on the verge of trial that you could have taken advantage of months before. By insisting that your case goes to trial, your attorney's contingency fee will increase to at least 40%. Rather than have this happen, keep your mind open to any and all settlement offers.
There are Other Parties Who Must Also Be Paid Back
As we mentioned before, your attorney isn't the only person who has to be paid back. You need to pay back other people as well. For example, you'll need to reimburse any health insurance company that covered your medical care. Your settlement proceeds will also have to be used to pay any outstanding mechanic's bills. If you're involved in a car accident, your vehicle will need to be repaired or replaced. Your auto insurance carrier may pay these bills. If you settle your case, they'll expect to be reimbursed. You can't double-dip when it comes to personal injury lawsuits.
Reach Out to a Seasoned Personal Injury Lawyer Sooner Rather than Later
If you suffer injuries in any sort of accident, you may need to call a team of experienced personal injury attorneys. If your insurance claim is denied, you may have no choice but to file a lawsuit against the other driver. While there's no law that says you can't handle this on your own, that's not always the best idea. You should have a skilled personal injury attorney do this for you.
All you have to do is call and schedule your free, initial consultation. Take the time to sit down with a skilled lawyer who has handled dozens of cases like yours before. They'll have answers to any questions you may have. They can also give you an idea of what your case is worth. The consultation is free, and you won't have to pay a dime until your case is resolved.
The defendant is going to have attorneys working for them, and you should too. There's simply too much at stake to leave this to chance. Call and set up a date and time that works for you today.