How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

Personal Injury Attorney

An estimated 50 million people are injured in accidents each year around the world. If you recently experienced an accident and suffered injuries as a result, you might be entitled to compensation if another party was at fault, or if you have personal injury insurance coverage.

Getting compensated shouldn’t be a problem especially when the facts of the case are clear, but the hard truth is victims usually undergo many challenges collecting the money they deserve. This is why it’s advisable to get professional help from a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

But how much will you need to pay your attorney? It depends on a wide range of factors, as explained below.

How Personal Injury Attorneys Bill Their Clients

Before we dive into the cost of legal services for personal injury cases, it’s important to understand how these attorneys bill their clients.

In general, an attorney can bill you in one of four ways: flat fee, hourly, retainer, and contingency. In many cases, personal injury attorneys charge contingency fees. As the name alludes, their pay is contingent on the outcome of the case.

As such, you’ll find many attorneys quoting a percentage of your personal injury settlement amount. The standard rate is 33 percent, but this can go lower or higher depending on several factors.

As the client, you’re at liberty to choose an attorney who bills you in any of the other ways. However, it’s recommended that you pick an attorney who asks for a contingency fee, since that way, you won’t worry about paying them if the case doesn’t end in a financial settlement.

Plus, a contingency fee motivates the attorney to work harder on the case and ensure there’s a favorable outcome so that they can get paid. If you choose an attorney who, for example, charges an hourly rate, they have no pressing reason to give the case their all because, win or lose, they’re getting paid anyway.

So, what influences the contingency fee a lawyer charges?

Complexity of the Personal Injury Case

Personal injury cases aren’t created equal. Some are simple and straightforward, and others can be long and complex, involving multiple parties.

Obviously, the simpler a case is, the greater the power you have to negotiate a lower contingency fee (percentage). Most attorneys will quote the standard rate (33%), but that doesn’t mean they can’t go lower. If your case doesn’t have any complications, negotiate a lower percentage.

For example, if the at-fault party in your accident has already admitted liability, the only remaining issue is to agree on the settlement amount. You still need an attorney to negotiate on your behalf, but since most of their work will revolve around negotiations, they may be more willing to adjust their fee downwards.

On the other hand, the contingency fee for complex cases can be as high as 40 percent of the settlement money. These are usually cases where parties are denying liability and/or insurers are declining the claims.

If your case has to go to trial, and if a team of lawyers is required, it’s likely that close to half of any eventual settlement amount will go to legal fees.

Freelance/Solo Practice Attorney vs. Law Firm

When you need legal services, you can go to either a law firm with a team of attorneys or a solo lawyer. As you can guess, you’re likely to pay more if you hire a law firm compared to an attorney who is a one-man team.

So why not go for the solo attorney straight away if they’re the cheaper option?

Not so fast!

Whether you should hire a firm or an independent attorney really depends on your case and preferences. If your case is case complex and could need a team of lawyers, you’re best advised to hire a personal injury law firm with several attorneys on staff. If the case is simple and you only need an attorney to help with paperwork and negotiate with the insurance company, a solo attorney will do.

That being said, you can still hire a law firm even when your claim doesn’t need a lot of work – especially if cost isn’t a major issue for you. There’s greater peace of mind that comes when you know you have a team of lawyers working on your case –however simple.

Attorney Experience and Reputation

Of course, you’ll pay more when you have an experienced attorney of great professional repute on your team. They’ve been in the practice for several years, handled hundreds of cases, and won hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation for their clients. With such a record, you’re almost guaranteed a positive outcome for your case – and for that, you’ll pay!

Injury attorneys who have recently joined the bar or haven’t worked on many cases may be just as competent as their experienced counterparts, but they won’t command such a high fee. With an easy case, you can do with such an attorney, and you will end up with a bit more money in your pocket than you would if you hired an experienced attorney.

Personal injury attorneys can also specialize in various types of injury cases, which can influence the pricing of their services.

For example, if you were involved in a pedestrian accident, you could hire a lawyer who works with all types of injury cases, or one who specializes in pedestrian victims. The specialist may charge a higher fee since they’re more well-versed with the specific laws that relate to your case. Read more now to learn how such a lawyer can offer your specialized help.

Don’t Overpay When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney 

Hiring a lawyer when you’ve been involved in an accident is a good decision. Personal injury claims can be challenging, and when you’re hurt you might not be in a position to fight for yourself. A personal injury attorney will take up your case and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Your attorney also deserves fair compensation for the services they’ll offer you. How much you pay them, as we’ve demonstrated, will depend on a couple of variables.

If you need help making more good decisions, explore our blog!