Many people call our office and the first thing they want to know is “how much will it cost me to hire a lawyer for my personal injury claim?” Many of the callers have been hurt in a car accident or fallen on ice because somebody didn’t take care of their walkway. After the shock of the injury, they begin thinking about making a claim to be compensated for their losses.
If you’re reading today’s blog post, you may have been injured recently and want to know how you will pay an injury lawyer to help you file a claim. In today’s article, we will cover how injury lawyers get paid, what “no fee unless you win” means, and how case expenses are paid.
Without further ado, let’s jump in.
How Do Injury Lawyers Get Paid?
First, let’s talk about how injury lawyers get paid. Personal injury lawyers work on what’s called a contingency fee basis. We typically do not ask for money upfront, and do not charge an hourly fee. The usual arrangement is somewhere between 33% and 40% of the amount recovered in a settlement or by verdict. The specific fee is going to depend on the arrangement you have with your lawyer. But one-third is pretty typical.
In other words, we don’t get paid unless you do.
What Does “No Fee Unless You Win” Mean?
The reason personal injury lawyers work this way is that we understand an unexpected legal expense because of somebody’s negligence isn’t something most people are prepared to handle financially.
Medical bills, being out of work. These things bring their own costs to your life.
Paying out of pocket for an injury lawyer on top of that would be impossible for most people. The flip side of this arrangement, of course, is that if there’s no settlement and there’s no favorable verdict at trial, there’s no legal fee.
In fact, you may have seen on TV which say, “No fee unless we win.”
Well, that’s what they’re talking about. A contingency fee arrangement.
Paying Case Expenses
In addition to legal fees, there are also what are called case costs.
So what are costs?
Basically, a case cost is going to include any money that’s spent to move your case or claim forward. Costs do not include office overhead, like rent or the phone bill. Costs are specific to your case.
Basic costs include things like paying for medical records, court fees, or investigator costs. Depending on the needs of your specific case though, your lawyer may need to go beyond the basics. Your lawyer may need to hire expert witnesses like medical doctors or engineers. They may need to run focus groups or hire other kinds of consultants.
The way this typically works is that the lawyers will pay for the expenses upfront.
Your attorney will pay for the doctors, the court fees, and the investigators. And they’ll keep a running tab of how much is spent. At the end of the case, in addition to the legal fee, your lawyer will present you with a bill for the costs.
And while these costs are in addition to the legal fee, it all comes out of the money from your settlement or jury verdict.
How Can I Estimate My Case Costs
A lot of people would like to know upfront how expensive their case will be. The truth is, the answer to that depends.
Generally, the more complicated your case is, and the longer it lasts, the more expensive it will be.
Cases which involve complicated medical questions or long-term injuries are probably going to be more expensive than cases involving injuries such as a broken arm, or injuries where you recover quickly and only need to file an insurance claim.
Another consideration is that the longer the case goes on, the more expensive it is. Part of the skill of being a lawyer involves exercising judgment, about just how much money to invest in a particular case.
Summary: How much will it cost me to hire a lawyer for my personal injury claim?
Here’s what we hope you take away from today’s article:
- Personal injury lawyers get paid on a contingency fee basis. This means that at the end of a case, you’ll be expected to pay a legal fee for your lawyer’s time, expertise, and attention to your case.
- If there’s no settlement or jury verdict in your favor at the end of the case, then there’s no legal fee, and no obligation to reimburse your lawyer.
- You’ll be asked to reimburse the lawyer for costs spent in moving your case forward.
- Finally, the total bill for case expenses or case costs can vary greatly depending on how complicated your particular case is.
Contact Us Today
If you want to work with experienced Vermont and New York personal injury lawyer Drew Palcsik on your personal injury claim, feel free to call our office or send us a message using our contact form. We serve clients at offices in Burlington and Middlebury, Vermont, and Plattsburgh, New York.