Posted in Personal injury
Were you injured on the job or in a car accident? Depending on the severity, you may discover that you have medical bills you can’t afford to pay or that you’re out of work to recover. Many people try to represent themselves in court or fail to file at all because they fear they can’t afford a lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency, though. Understanding what that means can help you determine whether to hire a lawyer.
Costs Are Not the Same as Fees
Before determining how much you’ll need to pay a lawyer, it’s important to understand that “costs” and “fees” are two different things in the legal world. In law, the “fee” is how much you’ll pay a lawyer for handling your case. Costs are the expenses related to the litigation, such as the costs associated with pulling records, filing the case, and hiring any investigators or expert witnesses. Keep in mind that court costs can become quite expensive, especially if the plaintiff wants transcripts of the case or if your case ends up with a jury trial. This is because you’ll be responsible for the cost of printing the transcript (up to $2 per page) and paying the daily juror stipend.
Contingency Fee Agreements
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee. This means they take a percentage of up to 40% of what you get in your settlement, although most take 33%. Some lawyers create their contingency fees based on a sliding scale. Typically, these options mean your lawyer receives less if you settle early on but more if you have to go to trial. Consider whether your case will become more costly when deciding whether to take a settlement or take it through the court system. This means if you receive a $100,000 settlement, your lawyer will take anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 on average.
What To Expect After Your Case Is Over
Many people don’t realize it, but the defendant doesn’t pay a settlement directly to the plaintiff. In reality, your lawyer receives the settlement check to ensure he or she is paid for services first. When your lawyer receives the check, he or she will contact you and provide an itemized list of what is being deducted and why. If you don’t dispute charges, you’ll receive the balance. If you have any disputes, the balance will be put into a trust account until you can resolve the issue.
If you suspect you have a right to personal injury compensation, hire a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate the complex process and raise your chances of winning a settlement.