In most cases, a personal injury lawyer works on contingency, requiring no upfront payment and only charging a fee if they win your case. Additionally, your lawyer’s payment will be a percentage of your settlement or judgment, so you never have to pay anything out of pocket.
Along the way, your lawyer will cover all court costs, administrative work, and other payments associated with handling your case. In this blog post, we’ll explain the common fee structures lawyers use and whether hiring one is worth it for your personal injury claim.
Fee Structures for Personal Injury Cases
There are generally two types of fee structures in personal injury cases: hourly rates and contingency fees. Understanding the differences between these options is crucial in determining how much you might have to pay for legal services.
Some lawyers may charge you an hourly rate based on the time they spend working on your case. The fees can vary depending on the lawyer’s experience, reputation, and location. Although uncommon, personal injury lawyers may use this fee structure if a case requires an unpredictable amount of work.
The most common fee structure for personal injury lawyers, including those on our team at Whitley Law Firm, is the contingency fee. This arrangement means you don’t pay anything upfront or hourly. Instead, fees are contingent upon the outcome of your case. If you win or reach a settlement, your lawyer will receive a percentage of the compensation awarded. If you don’t win, you won’t owe any attorney fees.
How Do Contingency Fee Arrangements Work?
In a contingency fee arrangement, you, as the client, don’t have to pay your personal injury lawyer upfront. Instead, they will receive a percentage of your compensation if your case is successful.
Once your settlement is finalized, the insurance company or defendant will send the compensation directly to your lawyer. They will deduct their fees and expenses from the amount before forwarding the remaining amount to you.
This arrangement benefits you because it eliminates the financial burden of paying legal fees out of pocket, especially when you may already face medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs associated with your injury. Choosing a lawyer who works on a contingency basis ensures that their interests are aligned with yours, as they are motivated to secure compensation for you.
What Percentage Do Personal Injury Lawyers Take From a Settlement or Judgment?
According to the American Bar Association, the amount lawyers take from a settlement or judgment in personal injury cases typically ranges from 33% to 40%. This percentage represents the contingency fee that the lawyer receives for their services. It’s important to note that this fee is deducted from the settlement amount before you receive your compensation.
For instance, if the settlement is $100,000 and your lawyer charges a 35% contingency fee, they will receive $35,000 from the settlement amount, leaving you with $65,000.
Your lawyer may also deduct other costs, such as court fees and expenses, from the settlement. It’s crucial to clearly understand the fee structure and any potential deductions before agreeing to work with a personal injury lawyer.
What Other Costs Are Involved in Personal Injury Cases?
In addition to the lawyer’s fees, you may need to consider other expenses when pursuing a personal injury case.
- Court filing fees — When filing a personal injury lawsuit, court filing fees may be involved. These fees can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the case.
- Expert witness fees — In some personal injury cases, your lawyer may hire expert witnesses to provide specialized knowledge or opinions relevant to your case. Expert witness fees can vary depending on the expertise and qualifications of the witness.
- Investigation costs — To build a strong case, your attorney may hire investigators to gather evidence, interview witnesses, or reconstruct accident scenes. These costs can add to the overall cost of your case.
- Medical record retrieval fees — Obtaining medical records and reports as evidence in a personal injury case may involve fees charged by healthcare providers or record retrieval services.
- Medical liens — Under G.S. §44-49, insurance companies or healthcare providers may place liens on your settlement to seek reimbursement for medical expenses or services rendered.
- Other miscellaneous costs —Other miscellaneous costs may be associated with your case, such as postage, document copy fees, or administrative expenses. While these costs may seem relatively minor, they can add up throughout your case.
While this list may seem daunting even with a contingency fee structure, rest assured that your lawyer can account for these expenses when requesting a fair settlement amount. They will help you fight for enough money to cover your attorney fees and the losses you have experienced due to your injuries.
Is Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer Worth It?
Whether or not it is worth it to hire an injury attorney depends on your case.
However, an attorney has the skills and experience to navigate complex legal procedures, negotiate with insurance companies, gather evidence, and build a strong case on your behalf. They can also represent your interests in court if they cannot settle your case through negotiations.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer will also give you peace of mind, knowing that someone is advocating for your rights and best interests while you focus on recovering from your injuries. This support can alleviate stress during a challenging time, allowing you to concentrate on your recovery and well-being. While the cost is an important consideration, it’s equally important to recognize the benefits of professional legal representation.
Get a Free Consultation With Whitley Law Firm Today
No one ever anticipates hiring a personal injury lawyer, but life has a way of throwing unexpected challenges our way. We understand your concerns, especially regarding the costs involved.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact us today by calling (919) 785-5000. Our personal injury lawyers are ready to evaluate your case and fight for the compensation you deserve. At Whitley Law Firm, we believe in providing accessible and high-quality legal services to those who need them most. Our transparent fee structure ensures you receive the assistance you deserve without financial strain.