What Does A Personal Injury Attorney Cost?
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you need to hire a personal injury attorney to make sure that you get a fair settlement for your injuries. Even in extreme injury cases, many people are worried about hiring an injury lawyer because they are afraid that they can’t afford one. However, without an attorney helping them prove their claim and negotiate their damages, these same people may end up with a much lower settlement and ultimately, end up spending more time and money representing themselves than they would have on an attorney.
At Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, and Walsh, we understand that cost can be a major factor in determining whether or not you choose to get representation in your injury claim. In order to help you understand what a claim can cost, we’ve laid out the basic fees and costs to expect so that you can make an informed decision about hiring an attorney. Here is what to expect:
There are essentially three types of attorney fees. What fee structure you go with depends entirely on the details of the case and what you negotiate with your attorney. The three types include:
- Contingency: A contingency fee is a fee based on a percentage of your settlement. In the state of Florida the contingency caps at 33% of settlements valued under $1 million dollars, and a 10% incremental reduction for settlements over $1 million. You percentage may be different depending on what you negotiate with your attorney. With a contingency fee you will not pay an upfront fee and you will only pay the contingency fee if your attorney wins the case. However, even if you lose you may still have to pay for any expenses associated with pursuing your settlement and any other fees negotiated with your attorney.
- Retainer: A retainer is basically a written financial agreement between an attorney and client that outlines the fee required to retain their legal services. This fee is typically paid upfront or in installments. A typical retainer agreement will contain a list of attorney-provided services, expectations of client actions, details about fees, expenses, and payment schedules, and how to dissolve the partnership. A retainer is paid regardless of the outcome of the case, but depending on the settlement amount, may end up being lower than a contingency fee.
- Hourly: Hourly fees are just that, you will pay your attorney hourly. Like a retainer, an hourly fee will be paid upfront, regardless of the outcome of your case. Hourly fees can add up quickly, but a good attorney working hourly, who can work your case quickly, may end up saving you money in the long run.
No matter what fee structure you and your attorney decide on, make sure before hiring any attorney that you fully understand what money you will owe at the end of the case. A good injury lawyer will be completely transparent about their fees and the various expenses they foresee relating to your particular case. If an attorney is not upfront with you about the financial aspects of representing you, you should consider hiring a different attorney.
Other Associated Legal Expenses
Beyond attorney's fees, you should expect other associated legal expenses. The most common expenses in accident cases include:
- Filing fees
- Obtaining police and medical records
- Hiring investigators and expert witnesses
- Postage and document processing
These fees are unavoidable as they are charged by third party organizations like hospital or the state or county records office. Some attorneys will include these expenses into their fees, it just depends on what you negotiate.
At Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, and Walsh, we will be completely clear about the fees and expenses you can expect. Rather than settling for less than what you are owed for your claim, speak to our attorneys to see how we can help you get a fair claim and a fair legal fee.