Dealing with both an injury and a legal matter can put almost anyone in a stressful situation. If you have been in a car accident, been hurt, and are now seeking compensation from the other driver, don't go it alone. This area of the law can be complicated, and negotiating with insurance companies takes knowledge, skills, and experience. That being said, the most natural issue to arise after making the decision to hire an auto accident lawyer is how to pay for it. Read on to learn more about paying for your personal injury legal services.
Three Ways Attorneys Charge
Just knowing that there is no one straightforward way that lawyers charge may catch you by surprise, but almost all personal injury lawyers use the contingency fee method. It might be helpful to keep in mind that many lawyers offer free consultations where you can find out more about how they charge for their time. The other two methods are less often used.
1. Hourly – While this way of charging is widespread in criminal and family law, it is not as common with civil law. If this method is used, you would pay the attorney a certain sum of money upfront (called a retainer), then the attorney bills you when they work on the case. The billed amount is drawn from the retainer.
2. Flat rate – An agreed upon flat fee is charged and that fee is expected to cover the most common tasks associated with a personal injury case. This money is paid upfront and you should question the attorney closely about what the fee will and will not cover. For example, if the case goes to trial there might be additional fees.
The Contingency Fee Arrangement
This method of paying for legal services is both the most common and the most advantageous for all concerned. No money is needed to get the lawyer started on your case. In fact, you won't have to pay the lawyer any money at all unless you win your case. The fee is taken from either the insurance settlement or from the court judgment if the case goes to court.
The fee is agreed upon when you sign the representation agreement. Usually, the fee constitutes a certain percentage of your money payment. For example, if you agree to settle the case for $50,000 and your agreement stipulates that the attorney is to receive 30 percent of that you will receive $21,000 after your attorney is paid. The money ($9,000 in this case) is paid directly to the attorney and the remainder is disbursed to you.
To learn more about the ways to pay for the legal representation you need, speak to your attorney.