The personal injury sector of the law saw just under 2% growth from 2015 to 2020. That growth continues and may see a spike if people start filing injury cases pertaining to COVID exposure against employers and businesses in the years ahead.
All of that to say that personal injury lawyers are busy and are only going to get busier.
Why all of the interest in personal injury law from consumers? Because a quality injury lawyer gets people like you the money you deserve after being subjected to an unfair and oftentimes debilitating event.
If you’ve been the victim of an accident and are in the market for compensation, keep reading this post. Below, we break down the often asked question of how much a personal injury lawyer costs.
Injury Lawyers Work on Contingency
The first thing you’ll notice when shopping for a personal injury lawyer is the fact that they work on contingency. This is different than the arrangement you’d find working with, say, a criminal defense attorney.
Defense attorneys ask clients for a cash retainer upfront to get started working. From there, you’d pay them an hourly fee for however long you have them on.
Personal injury attorney’s contingency arrangement makes it, so clients don’t have to pay anything upfront. All (or most) of the lawyer’s fees are collected solely from the amount of money they’re able to win you through negotiations or trial.
Looking at Averages
An arrangement where lawyers get paid from what they’re able to make you might sound like a great thing (and if often is), but that depends on how much money they’re likely to pull out of your earnings. So then, is there a fixed percentage you’ll run into with contingency models?
Unfortunately, no. There are no hard rules that dictate how much an injury lawyer can charge you for working your case.
Based on what we’ve seen, you can expect a rate that’s somewhere in the area of 25% to 40%. How high or low you fall depends on the amount of work your lawyer has to put forward.
For example, if a lawyer just sends a demand letter and that nets you a positive settlement, you’d fall on the low end of that range. If a lawyer has to take your case to trial, you’d fall on the high end.
There May Be Fixed Charges
In addition to the percentage of your settlement your lawyer will take for their time, you might also be liable for several fixed charges associated with your lawyer performing their services.
As an example, if an injury attorney hires a private investigator, you might get billed back that fee. The same might be true for fees associated with document filings.
Some lawyers will want you to pay those fees as they come up. The average personal injury attorney will just pull it out of your settlement check, though.
Firing an Attorney Can Result in Charges
Unbeknownst to many, if you fire your personal injury attorney and they’ve already performed work on your behalf, you may receive an invoice.
Remember, an attorney works for the money they earn you. If they work and get fired before they secure you a settlement, how will they get paid?
Some attorneys will let you pay them via a lean they’ll put on the settlement check you get working with another attorney (meaning you’d still pay them from your earnings).
Negotiations Can Take Place
If you love an attorney but hate their rates, tell them so. Again, there are no set rules when it comes to how much your attorney needs to charge you. If things are slow and you’d like to hire a lawyer at a 5% contingency discount, make that offer.
A willingness to negotiate is among the top what to look for in a lawyer, qualities you should keep an eye out for. You may be surprised by how many lawyers will work out an arrangement with you to earn your business.
Your Check Will Always Go to Your Lawyer
Something to keep in mind when working with an injury lawyer is that the check you get from your case will be sent to them. This allows them the opportunity to pull their fees out before sending you what you’re entitled to.
Look over the legal agreement you draft with your lawyer to understand how long you can expect to wait for your lawyer to give you your entitlements post them receiving your money.
As a final note regarding lawyer pay, sometimes an attorney will keep a settlement amount that is not in line with a client’s expectations. If this happens to you, it’s imperative to let your attorney know that you dispute the amount they’ve pulled and would like to discuss the matter.
You noting your discontent will usually result in an attorney putting the disputed money in a trust account for safekeeping until you’ve resolved your differences.
The Right Injury Lawyer Is Worth Every Penny
There are a lot of people that balk at the idea of forking over 25% to 40% of their settlement amount to their legal counsel. While nobody likes giving up money, believe us when we say that the value a good injury lawyer can bring to your case is almost always worth every penny.
Keep that in mind as you shop your options and know that we wish you the best of luck in obtaining quality council.
If you’d like more guidance on how to find the best personal injury lawyer or have other lifestyle questions, check out more of the newest content on our blog.