How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Usually Cost?
If you’re suffering from injuries after an accident that wasn’t your fault, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But the last thing you want on your mind is how you’ll pay for your medical bills or whether another person could find themselves in the same situation if the cause of your accident isn’t addressed.
That’s where an experienced personal injury lawyer can help. Every year 39 million people seek legal support to secure compensation for their injuries. Keep reading to discover all you need to know about personal injury lawyer fees- you’ll be surprised at how affordable seeking justice is!
What Is the Cost of a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Some people with personal injuries are worried about the cost of getting the compensation they deserve. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will be confident that they can win your case and they reflect this in their payment structure. The very best, like Illinois based law firm Claim Your Justice, are so confident that they won’t charge you a penny in legal fees unless they win your case! This is known as a contingency fee.
Contingency fees typically depend on whether you settle a case before or after filing a lawsuit. If you settle before filing, expect to pay a third of your settlement in fees. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 for your claim, your personal injury lawyer would be entitled to around $33,000.
If you settle after filing, your lawyer will charge a higher fee to account for the extra work and time involved. As a rule of thumb, your lawyer will get 40% of a settlement made after filing, so for a $100,000 settlement, they would receive $400,000.
It’s unusual to pay a personal injury lawyer by the hour as costs can quickly stack up. Charging by contingency incentivizes your lawyer to take personal injury cases seriously and secure you the best package possible. In addition, you’ll benefit from the added peace of mind, knowing that you don’t need to risk your hard-earned savings on a case that doesn’t close in your favor.
What Influences the Cost of a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Whilst the above figures provide an average fee summary, it’s important to remember that there are other factors that affect the cost of your personal injury lawyer. This includes your lawyer’s background, experience, and track record with personal injury cases.
Check your lawyer’s credentials and education history. Where did they train and what are their specialties?
A personal injury specialist should be experienced in all types of personal injury (including car accidents, negligence, and work injuries) and they may charge more to reflect their background. A very narrow focus, like car accidents, could indicate a one-trick pony. Similarly, a very broad background might mean they don’t have the experience to get the compensation you deserve.
It may seem like common sense, but be prepared to pay more for an experienced lawyer vs. a junior associate or someone who recently moved disciplines. In return for the higher fees, you can take comfort knowing that an experienced lawyer is likely to secure you a better settlement.
Has your personal injury lawyer got a solid track record of winning personal injury cases? If you don’t know, ask them! The best lawyers will be comfortable talking you through their success rate. Again, they’ll charge more if they have a solid gold track record, but you’re likely to recoup the increase in your settlement.
Court Costs and Other Charges
Alongside your legal fees, you should also expect to pay court costs and additional expenses, such as:
- Filing fees
- Police reports
- Expert witness fees
- Medical records
- Postage and copying charges
You will need to pay these fees regardless of whether you win your case, so it’s a good idea to set money aside for them at the start of the legal process. Remember that these costs are separate from the cost of your personal injury lawyer, although it’s likely that they will receive the bill for any accrued costs.
Personal injury lawyers vary in how they pass on these charges; some will send you a monthly bill, detailing the expenditure for your case and asking for payment within 30 days. Others will keep a record of all your charges and send you a bill once a verdict has been reached. If you win the case, this means you can choose to have the costs deducted from the settlement.
It’s difficult to predict the total cost of the fees you might incur. Your lawyer is placed to advise on the expected fees for your individual case but as a rule of thumb, expect to pay more for a lengthy case or if you attend court. Fortunately, only 4% of personal injury cases go to court, but if you need to, court costs and fees deduct another 10-15% from your settlement award.
For example, if you have a contingency fee agreement with your personal injury lawyer where you pay 40% of your settlement to them. They will receive $40,000 of a $100,000 settlement. If you then deduct another 10% for court fees, equating to $10,000, you are left with $50,000 to take home.
Get the Compensation You Deserve!
Suffering as a result of a personal injury that wasn’t your fault isn’t acceptable. Use this information to understand personal injury lawyer costs and take your first step toward the compensation you deserve.
If this post has helped you address important questions about your personal situation, such as “what do personal injury lawyers charge” and “what other costs are involved,” take a look at the rest of our blog for more legal advice and tips.