When you need to hire a personal injury lawyer, one of your main concerns is likely what it’s going to cost. You know you need representation, but you may not know what to expect, especially if this is your first time hiring one.
It’s important to know the reasons why you would need a personal injury lawyer as well as how the process works and how they get paid. Let’s dig deeper to see how things work.
Why should I hire a personal injury lawyer?
Before you worry about how a personal injury lawyer gets paid, you should be certain that you have a personal injury case.
Here are the types of cases that personal injury lawyers will take on:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Burn Injuries
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Dog Bites
- Slip and Fall
If your case falls into one of these categories, then you may have a personal injury case on your hands.
What does an attorney consultation cover?
If you suspect that you have a personal injury case, it’s time to call for a consultation. When you have a consultation with a personal injury lawyer, your meeting will confirm whether your case has merit. It’s also your chance to evaluate the attorney and whether you want them to take on your case. Consultations are usually free, but you should always ask before making your appointment.
During the consultation, you should ask your personal injury lawyer several questions to decide whether you want them to represent you.
These questions can include:
- Have you tried any personal injury cases similar to mine?
- How much time can you devote to my case?
- Who will be handling my case?
- How long have you been practicing personal injury law?
- Do you try to settle a case or do you always go to trial?
- Are you a member of any legal organization?
- How long does it take for cases like mine to resolve?
- Do you foresee any problems with my case?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can then move on to discussing payments.
How does a personal injury attorney get paid?
Typically, personal injury lawyers only get paid by winning cases in court or by settling out of court.
If a personal injury lawyer wins the case, they will take a percentage of the final settlement or from the final verdict at trial. When you decide to be represented by a personal injury lawyer, you will be asked to sign an agreement that states you will pay a certain percentage.
If you don’t win the case and you don’t receive any money from the case, you will not owe any lawyer’s fees. Again, be sure to verify this with your lawyer.
The percentage owed to the personal injury lawyer will vary from state to state. The amount usually ranges from 1/3 to 40% of the settlement amount.
When a case is won or a settlement is reached out of court, the check is usually sent to the lawyer. The lawyer will then deduct their fees and expenses. The remainder will get sent to the client. It’s important to realize that fees and expenses are not the same.
Any fee is an amount that is charged to the lawyer for their time. In many cases, fees are based on the total settlement and then the costs are taken off after the fees are subtracted. When you have your consultation, it’s important to go through fees and expenses and how things are going to be paid.
Expenses cover out-of-pocket amounts that the lawyer covers before any settlement is reached.
Costs and expenses in a personal injury court case may include:
- Court costs such as deposition fees and filing
- Investigator fees or expert witness fees
- Research service fees
- Office expenses such as faxes, postage, or copying
- Trial exhibit preparation
- Medical and police reports
- Legal research costs
- Travel costs
Some lawyers will charge contingency fees based on a tier. The tier depends on how far the case goes before it’s over. If the parties of the case settle before filing the lawsuit, the fee is lower than if the case goes to trial.
However you decide to pay your personal injury lawyer, it’s important to get everything in writing. This way there are no surprises once the case is over or is settled.
Contact Olmstead & Olmstead Personal Injury Lawyers for Your Personal Injury Case
If you think you have a personal injury case on your hands, contact the offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C. You can schedule a free consultation to discuss your personal injury case. During the meeting, we will review your case and answer any questions you may have.
It’s important to bring the following items to your first consultation:
- Medical records
- Any correspondence with the other party
- Police report
- Insurance policy information
- Pay stubs (if your injury has forced you to lose time from work)
Bringing these types of documents with you will help the consultation go more smoothly and for us to get a clear picture of your case. During this time, we will ask you questions about your injury. Its important to know that this information will not be shared with anyone.