How Much Does Hiring an Accident Lawyer for Your Personal Injury Claim Cost?

Gain an Understanding of How Much Personal Injury Lawyers Charge

There are a number of myths out there about legal fees. For example, some people are surprised that lawyers charge fees for their services. However, just like any other business charges its clients fees for delivering services to them, so are lawyers entitled to a reasonable fee for their services rendered. Secondly, some people are under the impression that a lawsuit is going to solve all of their disputes. However, the question of whether it is worth it to fight a lawsuit depends on a number of factors; that is why it is a good idea to get legal advice about your injury – to help you understand if you have a case, how much it is worth, and how much legal action would cost.

Lawyers are involved in a broad array of societal activities; therefore, it can seem confusing in determining when it is prudent to contact one for help. Two variables – monetary value and risk – are good indicators. Example of monetary value: if you are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on buying a new real-estate property, it is advisable to have a lawyer review your contract (because, if something goes wrong, not only is hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line but more time and legal costs may have to be spent). Example of risk: if you are asked by police to give a statement, it is advisable to consult with a lawyer to determine the risk to your liberty you may face (since the police may have undisclosed motivations such as to turn you from a witness to a suspect or accused or to turn over your information to civil authorities to be used against you).

In the context of a personal injury, both variables favor contacting a lawyer: the monetary value of a personal injury claim can potentially be very high; and legal representation – including the expertise and advocacy skills brought to bear – can enhance your prospect for winning.

There are a number of fee models. Some lawyers charge an hourly rate; others charge a flat rate (i.e. a one-time payment). In personal injury law, lawyers typically charge a contingency fee. This type of fee means that the lawyer’s fee is calculated as a percentage of the amount of damages recovered, exclusive disbursements. In all cases where there is a contingency fee arrangement, it must be stipulated in an agreement and a copy thereof is given to the client. 

When a client meets with a lawyer for a consultation, and throughout the retainer, the lawyer assists the client to determine whether continuation of a lawsuit is worth the cost. Lawyers do this using a concept from economics called ‘expected utility.’ Generally: if the reasonably anticipated amount of damages, multiplied by the likelihood of success, is greater than the legal and other costs, then the lawsuit is worth continuing.

Other factors that can affect a lawyer’s fees include if the cause of action lies in an area of law that the lawyer is unfamiliar with, which requires expenditure of time and resources for staff to get up to speed on, or if it would be difficult to enforce a judgment even if it were to be achieved, such as if the defendant is judgment-proof (i.e. does not have any assets).

Some ways that lawyers can help reduce fees for clients include by using the latest technologies and by having an effective ratio of assistants to lawyers.

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