Personal injury lawyers work with clients who accuse another party of causing psychological or physical harm because of carelessness or other negligent behavior. As legal counselors, personal injury lawyers work and speak on behalf of their clients to acquire equity and pay for any misfortunes and/or other enduring expenses. A personal injury lawsuit may arise if an individual suffers an injury or some sort of damage in situations such as an automobile crash, workplace incident, defective product use, or medical malpractice. An individual, an organization, or a government office may be lawfully accountable for the injury.
Most personal injury law firms will charge a contingency fee, which is an arrangement where the attorney only receives a fee if the plaintiff wins compensation in a settlement or court order. An attorney’s fee will be deducted from the settlement amount of the case or from a final trial verdict. Simply put, if the plaintiff doesn’t receive money, neither does the lawyer.
Contingency fees allow injured plaintiffs to hire an attorney without having to pay legal fees upfront.
The Difference Between Fees and Costs
The legal fees of a case refer to the lawyer’s contingency fees while costs refer to the day-to-day costs of building and working a case. Law firms will either cover the costs and then deduct the total amount from the settlement award or charge clients for costs as they are incurred. Different types of costs in a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Filing fees
- Trial exhibits
- Outside assistance (investigators, consultants, and expert witnesses)
- Documentation preparation expenses (medical records and police reports)
These costs can be high, especially if a settlement is awarded close to the trial date.
Costs Associated with Personal Injury Lawsuits
Lawyers for the injured party will usually receive 15%-40% of any payments to the client. Notwithstanding the attorney’s charges, there can likewise be court costs, charges for one or more expert witnesses, charges for investigations, administrative work and miscellaneous costs related to the case. These sums will fluctuate contingent upon the type of case and the services required, and in certain kinds of cases, the lawyer will advance the cash for these related costs and be repaid from received monies (plus the rate due for the attorney’s charge).
In an auto accident case where the plaintiff is injured, an attorney regularly charges 30%-40% of any cash retrieved, while court expenses and various costs begin around $1,000-$2,000 for a basic case and increase depending on the length and complexity of the services provided. For a basic slip-and-fall case, the average attorney’s charge is 25%-40%. Related costs can be $1,000-$4,000 for a basic case and will quickly increase based on the quantity and kind of expert testimony required.
For injuries that are work-related, federal and state laws determine the amount a workers’ compensation lawyer can charge; the subtleties differ extensively, yet in many states, the highest an attorney can charge is 20%. Other costs associated with the claim can be $5,000-$10,000 or more. An asbestos lawyer regularly gets 33%-40% of any cash retrieved. Related costs begin at about $10,000-$25,000 and grow rapidly, based on medical and technical testimony needed.
A medical malpractice attorney commonly charges 25%-40% of any monies received; the average for related expenses is $25,000-$50,000 yet it can be $50,000-$100,000 or more in complex circumstances.
Paying Hourly Rates for a Personal Injury Lawyer
In some cases, a personal injury lawyer will charge by the hour with a set hourly rate. An attorney will require a deposit and a signed contract agreeing to the hourly rate. The plaintiff will then receive itemized statements of the amount of time the attorney worked on the case. Charging an hourly rate is more common in criminal defense and family law cases, whereas personal injury cases are more often contingency fee based.
It is crucial for plaintiffs looking to hire an hourly rate personal injury attorney to be familiar with factors that deem the hourly rate “reasonable,” which varies according to the state. For example, Rule 4-01.5 of the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct defines specific factors to consider such as:
- “The time and labor required, the novelty, complexity, difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly”
- “The fee, or rate of fee, customarily charged in the locality for legal services of a comparable or similar nature”
- “The significance of, or amount involved in, the subject matter of the representation, the responsibility involved in the representation, and the results obtained”
Categorization of Lawsuit
Usually, personal injury lawsuits are categorized as tort law, which includes non-economic or economic damage to someone’s property, health or reputation. These cases are commonly found on lawful points of reference (past court decisions in comparable cases) as opposed to based on explicit statutes or laws, as in criminal situations where the objective is to demonstrate or negate whether a person breached a particular penal code.
Some individual injury cases have been settled by a less formal settlement from the plaintiff, the defendants, and the lawyers speaking for them. Normally there will be a progression of conversations ending with a report in which the two sides concur to not make any further moves (such as a lawsuit) in reciprocity for the remission of an agreed upon amount of money. In uncommon cases, rather than remittance, the settlement may incorporate an understanding that the litigant can change one or more behaviors.
Some personal injury cases go to court as part of a civil lawsuit.
In the event that the sum included is under $2,500-$15,000 (as established by state law), an individual damage case can be taken care of in a court for small claims, often without including legal advisors. Other charges, including filing fees, can result in an additional $20-$320 or more.
Finding Your Lawyer
A lawyer usually works specifically in one or two kinds of individual damage cases. You should research a potential lawyer’s preparation and involvement in personal injury lawsuits, particularly in regards to case type (medical malpractice, car accident, product liability, etc.).
The lawyer should give you an agreement in writing, enabling you to understand precisely how and when the attorney’s charges will be deducted from any judgment or settlement received and if there will be any expected costs or fees that will add to the overall expense of hiring that attorney.
We Can Help You Afford a Personal Injury Lawyer
People filing personal injury lawsuits are usually met with financial difficulties. Legal fees can add up quickly, leaving plaintiffs with little money for living expenses, rent, groceries, and medical bills. It is also not unusual for lawsuits to take months or years to settle or come to trial. Personal injury plaintiffs are already suffering physical and emotional damage, adding financial burdens to the mix only makes the situation worse.
If you have filed a personal injury lawsuit and are awaiting your settlement or trial, The Legal Funding Group can help provide the money you need to get back to your daily routine. Even before the outcome of a case has been settled, The Legal Funding Group can help a plaintiff receive a settlement cash advance for paying overdue bills and more.
With lawsuit loans from The Legal Funding Group, you can feel financially secure knowing that you have the money you need. We provide a quick and easy approval process so you can get cash for your lawsuit as soon as possible.
Call (912)-777-3997 for free information or submit an online application for lawsuit funding.
- AllLaw. “Lawyers’ Fees in Your Personal Injury Case,” AllLaw, https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/lawyers-fees.html. Accessed June 6, 2019.
- AllLaw. “Managing Lawyer Costs & Expenses in a Personal Injury Case,” AllLaw, https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/lawyer-costs-case-expenses.html. Accessed June 6, 2019.