Personal Injury Lawyer Fees

How much can you expect to pay for a personal injury lawyer’s fees? Although this is a frequently asked question, not wanting to hear the answer prevents many people from seeking the legal assistance they need after they were injured.

At JJ Legal, we don’t think cost should prevent anyone from seeking the legal help they need when times are tough. We understand how an accident can hurt you not only physically but financially as well. Our legal team can help you understand what to expect from personal injury lawyer’s fees, fee structures, and how attorneys get paid.

How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid?

First, an attorney should be clear and upfront about their fee structure when you meet with them. There should be no confusion about how they get paid and what you might eventually owe. Transparent communication about their fee structure is one of the key elements you should look for during an initial legal consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

How personal injury lawyers get paid depends on the fee structure the attorney follows. Attorneys may use different fee structures to charge clients for their time, education, skills, experience, and energy. These structures include:

Hourly Rates

Some attorneys charge clients by the hour. However, many personal injury attorneys prefer other structure fees. An attorney’s hourly rate typically depends on location, reputation, and experience. An attorney may use a billable hours chart to help demonstrate how they charge their clients for their work in a particular case. They can also show you how many billable hours it may take to help you resolve your case. This way, you know what you might expect to pay them.

Flat Fees

Many attorneys, such as those working on cases like uncontested divorces and minor traffic violations, charge flat fees for their work. A “flat fee” is a specific fee for a defined, finite legal service. The fee is agreed upon between the attorney and client upfront. Flat fees offer clients transparency and predictability, so they need not worry about hidden or surprise fees that may inflate their bills.

Flat fee structures are common when the workload is predictable and doesn’t involve significant complications.

Contingency Fees

Many personal injury lawyers prefer to work on a contingency fee basis. When an attorney successfully resolves an individual’s claim or lawsuit, they get a portion of the settlement as payment for their services. Some attorneys prefer a hybrid billing method that charges an hourly rate and an additional flat contingency fee.

What Is a Contingency Fee?

A personal injury attorney working on a contingency fee basis typically does not charge an upfront flat fee to their clients, nor do they generally require a retainer or advance payment for their services. Instead, they work on a client’s personal injury case without compensation in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the settlement they recover if they win a client’s case. Some attorneys refer to this fee structure as a “no win, no fee” structure because if the attorney cannot recover compensation for the client, the lawyer gets no compensation for their legal services.

What Percentage of My Settlement Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Take?

A personal injury attorney should be straightforward about the percentage they will take from your settlement. Depending on the complexity of your case, the experience of your attorney, and other factors, you can expect a personal injury lawyer to take anywhere from 33 to 40 percent of your settlement for their contingency fee.

Some personal injury attorneys request a flat 1/3 of any settlement they recover on your behalf. Other attorneys prefer using a “sliding scale” contingency fee structure. In such a fee arrangement, if they can settle your case out of court, they’ll take a lower percentage of your settlement than if they have to fight for your money in court. Less work is involved in negotiating a settlement than battling with an insurer or another party at trial.

Again, a respected attorney should be upfront with you about the percentage they will take in exchange for handling your case.  

What Happens If I Fire My Attorney Before My Case Is Resolved?

You can change attorneys if you cannot work with your attorney for whatever reason. But what about the fee? Your former attorney will often file a lien against your eventual compensation. Once your new lawyer resolves your case, an appropriate amount of money will be paid to your former lawyer for the work they did. However, if the attorney withdraws from the case, they are usually not entitled to fees or expenses.

Understanding Costs and Expenses in Personal Injury Cases

Personal Injury Lawyer Fees

One of the most confusing aspects of costs and expenses in personal injury cases for clients is the difference between attorney’s fees and expenses or court costs.

Attorneys charge a fee for their service through flat, hourly, or contingency fees. These fees are the costs a client pays to secure the attorney’s time and effort to resolve their legal situation or case. Expenses and court costs are not the same as attorney’s fees. Court costs and expenses are additional charges a client may need to pay to help an attorney resolve their case. These are generally hard costs an attorney incurs while working on the client’s behalf and can include things like:

  • Postage fees
  • Court filing fees
  • Courier fees
  • Copy fees
  • Witness subpoena fees
  • Court reporter costs
  • Medical record fees
  • Travel expenses
  • Expert consultant fees
  • Mediation costs

These additional expenses can be billed directly to the client and are considered separate from the attorney’s fee for working on their case. Personal injury attorneys working on a contingency fee basis may deduct these expenses from your final settlement in addition to their agreed-upon contingency fee rate.

Talk to an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today

An attorney should always keep you in the loop about the cost of their services or what you may owe. At JJ Legal, we believe in transparent and upfront discussions with our clients so they understand what to expect. We don’t charge upfront costs to work on your case and only get paid when we recover money for you.

Call our office at 312-200-2000 and ask for a free legal consultation. We’ll review your personal injury claim details before outlining your options for recovering maximum compensation.

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