“How much does a personal injury attorney cost?” is a question I receive fairly often. If you find yourself in need of legal assistance, then this question is certainly a good question to ask. How many times do we hear about outrageous legal fees in the news and media?
The number one objection most of us have, when deciding whether or not to hire someone for a service, is how much the service is going to cost us. This rings especially true when we are strapped for cash-as is often the case following an accident or injury.
If you are out of work due to an injury, then money and cost is going to weigh heavily on your mind. Believe me I understand. As a personal injury lawyer from Massachusetts I work with people in dire financial circumstances each and everyday.
Fortunately lack of money does not have to mean lack of personal injury representation. Let me explain why.
How Personal Injury Attorney Fees Work
Lets imagine for a moment that you slip and fall and injure yourself to the extent that you cannot work. Even with minor injuries the financial impact can be large enough to severely influence your monetary well-being.
What to do next? This is where a personal injury lawyer can really make a difference.
In most cases, personal injury attorneys charge their clients through what is referred to as a contingency fee. Said another way, personal injury lawyers receive a percentage of the compensation their clients receive – granted of course the case is successful.
Therefore there is no upfront cost associated with hiring a personal injury lawyer. Because of this, people who are in dire financial situations can still receive expert legal assistance. In addition, if a client’s case is not successful the client does not have to worry about paying their attorney.
The client and the attorney are both in the same boat, fighting the same fight.
How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge for Contingency Fees?
The exact percentage amount of a contingency fee varies. However for simplicity’s sake, it is healthy to expect a fee in the range of 33 1/3% the sum recovered. 33 1/3% is more or less standard.
Just because this is standard does not guarantee that the lawyer you speak with is going to agree to that percentage fee. It is important to discuss contingency fees with regards to your particular case with your chosen attorney before signing an agreement.
Contingency fees work because they motivate personal injury lawyers to do everything in their power to get their clients the compensation they are entitled to receive. A client is not really “hiring” a personal injury attorney. Instead the client and the attorney are “teaming up” and working together towards the same goal.
Hourly Billing Rates
Hourly billing rates are much less common than contingency fees in the world of personal injury law. Yet they are billed by some lawyers. If a lawyer offers an hourly billing rate to you, then I would first inquire as to why he or she is doing so.
Aside from the client having to come up with cash upfront, hourly billing could be a sign that your particular personal injury attorney is not confident in your case. Of course if your lawyer is not confident in winning your case, then what is the point of hiring them in the first place?
In my opinion, working on contingency makes the most sense for both the client and the attorney. Contingency fees not only motivate attorneys, they also make it possible for financially strapped clients to gain access to the legal representation they so direly need.
All the best,