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How Much Does A Personal Injury Lawyer Cost



If you've been hurt at the hands of another, you may be considering a personal injury lawsuit. But you also might be wondering, how much does an injury lawyer cost? This article will shed some light on the subject.

There are many types of incidents that could lead to a personal injury. The most common one involves traffic accidents. But there are also:

  • Slip-and-falls
  • Mistakes by medical professionals, known as medical malpractice
  • Dog bites
  • Injuries caused by defective or poorly designed products, known as products liability
  • Wrongful death

But no matter what kind of injury you are suffering, most personal injury attorneys charge their clients in one of two ways: Either a contingency fee or an hourly fee. The two billing methods work very differently.

When An Injury Lawyer Bills On Contingency

Contingency means the injury lawyer receives payment by taking a percentage of any money you collect from your lawsuit, whether in the form of a settlement or court award. If you don't collect any money, you don't owe your lawyer anything.

Many clients prefer the contingency billing method because they often don't have to pay any money up front. The injury attorney initially absorbs the costs of your lawsuit. You would reimburse your attorney after you collect your compensation.

Another advantage of hiring an injury lawyer on contingency is the built-in motivation it provides. If you don't get paid, neither does your attorney. So, he should work hard on your behalf.

A downside to hiring a lawyer on contingency is experienced when your case is settled quickly. You may feel the amount of work is not in proportion with the lawyer's fee.

When An Injury Lawyer Bills By The Hour

As you might conclude, if you hire an injury lawyer by the hour, you pay for each hour the lawyer works your case, regardless of the final outcome. Many personal injury lawyers who bill an hourly fee will ask that you pay a retainer fee first. A retainer fee works like a down payment. Your lawyer will withdraw from your retainer according to the hours worked on your case.

When the lawyer has exhausted your retainer fee, you may be asked to pay another one, or you may switch to monthly billing.

Hourly rates can vary among lawyers based on several factors, including:

  • Location: The average rate may vary by location
  • Experience: More experienced personal injury lawyers may charge more
  • Office overhead: Rent, utilities and the size of the supporting staff can influence an hourly rate

If you have talked with several injury lawyers who work on contingency but don't want to represent you, it may be a sign that your case is not particularly strong or worth little money. If you decide to hire an injury attorney by the hour, make sure you discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case with your lawyer.

Questions To Ask

When you are still in the interview phase of the attorney search, be sure to ask questions about legal fees. Some questions include:

  • If you charge a contingency fee, what is the percentage I would owe?
  • Given how much you think my case may be worth, can you show me examples of how much I could net after paying your fees if we settle? If we go to trial?
  • If you charge by the hour, what is your rate? Do you ask for a retainer fee? How much is it? What happens when it runs out?
  • Besides your time, what other expenses do you expect me to pay? Can you give me an estimate for them?
  • Is there room for negotiation in your fee?

The answers to these questions will reveal just how much it costs to hire a personal injury lawyer.