Personal Injury Attorney Fees
If you have been injured in an auto accident where you were not at fault, you might consider hiring a personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys work to make sure their clients get fair and reasonable insurance settlements.
Of course, you can expect certain legal fees when you hire a lawyer. Below are a few of the personal injury attorney fees you might face.
Initial Consultation Fees
The majority of personal injury attorneys do not charge an initial consultation fee; however, you should be clear about this before you go to the initial consultation.
The questions you might ask during your initial consultation will largely depend on your individual case, but some general questions include the following:
- What areas of personal injury law do you specialize in?
- Have you handled and had success with cases like mine before?
- Do you have any associates that will be working on the case as well? If so, can I meet them?
- How long will it take for you to resolve my case?
- Will you accept my case on a contingency fee basis?
- Do you charge a retainer fee? (See below.)
- Are there any other fees I should be aware of, such case filing and potential court fees?
- Do you anticipate my case going to court?
- What can I do to improve my case?
- If I have questions, how can I get in touch with you?
- If you are unavailable, is there another person I can speak to?
- What is your education, and have you taken any continuing education courses in the past few years?
- If I am unhappy with the settlement offered, will you be willing to take my case to court?
- What is your experience―if any―as a trial attorney?
- Will you refrain from going to court―even if you think we could get more by going to trial―if I wish to settle for the offered amount?
Asking questions such as these will help you get a clear idea the attorney’s education, experience, and overall approach to personal injury settlements.
If you are not pleased with the initial consultation, you should in no way feel obligated to hire the attorney in question. On the contrary, it is the purpose of an initial consultation to help you decide if a particular attorney is right for your case.
A retainer agreement is the written financial agreement between client and attorney. At the time a retainer agreement is signed, many lawyers offer retainers free of charge, and some others request a certain amount of money down. In addition to contingency (see below), court, and case filing fees, inquire about retainer fees during your initial consultation.
The details of retainer agreements vary, but a well-written retainer agreement will typically contain the following information:
- Attorney provided services.
- Corresponding client actions.
- Explanation of fees and expenses.
- Payment schedule.
- Process of dissolving the professional relationship if it is inharmonious.
The majority of personal injury attorneys accept cases on contingency fee basis, meaning that if they win the case, they take a percentage of the settlement amount from the auto insurance company. This amount varies by state and individual attorney, but it typically ranges from one third to 40% of the settlement amount.
NOTE: The contingency fee is only paid if your attorney wins the case, but you will be liable for additional fees, such as the claim filing fee and potential court fees, if your case goes to court. During your initial consultation with a personal injury attorney, be sure to inquire about all related fees and potential expenses.
Finding a Personal Injury Attorney
You can search for attorneys online or consult your local yellow pages, but keep in mind some of the best personal injury lawyers do little no advertising. For this reason, the best way to find a personal injury attorney is to ask friends, family, and professional colleagues for a personal injury referral.