You could be on your way to work, to class, to the beach, or to the store when a careless driver loses control and rams your vehicle. If you find yourself injured, one of your first calls may be to a personal injury lawyer. But how much do personal injury lawyers charge?
An attorney makes sure you receive full support from an insurance company as you recover, but you may have wondered what a personal injury lawyer will cost you. The good news is you don’t need any money to hire most personal injury lawyers.
How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge?
Most personal injury attorneys don’t take any money from you upfront. They work on something called a “contingency basis.” It means you don’t have to pay them if you don’t win your injury case.
After earning an insurance settlement or a court judgment, you go home with money to pay your bills and your attorney gets paid after what may be months or years of hard work.
Personal injury attorneys generally require about a third or 33% of your settlement in payment if a claim resolves before a lawsuit and forty or 40% if a matter resolves by settlement or judgment after a lawsuit is filed. The fee can change depending on how long your case takes to resolve. This money would come directly from the reward you receive through an insurance settlement or a judgment from a jury.
Personal Injury Accident Hazards in Southern California
Unfortunately, there are many dangers that come along with living in Southern California. You may be in any sort of accident and become injured. You could slip on a puddle at a grocery store, get hit while crossing the street, or be harmed by a product or appliance you bring into your home. These are all instances where someone’s negligence leaves you with a difficult recovery ahead.
A personal injury lawyer works to maximize the compensation you receive to help pay your medical bills and replace your lost wages while out of work. But it’s important that victims know what to expect when it comes time to pay their attorneys.
Personal Injury Attorney Fees Explained
Lawyers require payment because of the risks they take with every case. Attorneys typically advance all costs associated with moving your claim forward and invest hours of legal effort in building your case. They must also pay their staff who assist with your case.
If they spend a year working on your case and aren’t successful in earning compensation for you, lawyers take a massive financial hit. This serves as powerful motivation to keep your legal representatives doing their absolute best to earn you a legal victory.
Discussing Your Lawyer’s Fee
Whatever the fee, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. Reputable attorneys will go over this fee with you and make sure you understand how much they’ll earn and when. This discussion will occur before you are asked to sign the contingency agreement that allows them to represent your case. Make sure you understand how they’ll be paid and ask any questions you have.
Under California Law, fee agreements with your attorney must be in writing when the lawyer expects fees and costs for your case to total $1,000 or more.
What Are the Fees Associated With a Personal Injury Case?
After you earn compensation for your injury, you’ll also be asked to pay for all of the resources utilized to prepare your claim or lawsuit. The attorney and the law firm representing you cover these costs while moving your case forward. But once your case comes to a successful resolution, they will need to be reimbursed. These expenses are kept track of and provided to you in a detailed invoice.
These costs include filing fees charged by the court and the expense of investigation and legal research. You’ll be asked to reimburse the law firm for money spent to hire expert witnesses and to secure depositions. Invoices for administrative costs such as documentation fees, shipping fees, and travel are included.
If you lose your case you usually won’t pay your attorney anything for his or her work, but you may still be required to cover some or all of the costs associated with your case. This arrangement should also be discussed before you sign any agreement with an attorney.
When Does My Personal Injury Attorney Get Paid?
Once your case earns a settlement or is awarded a courtroom judgment, a check is sent to the law firm representing your case. Thereafter, the check is deposited into the firm’s attorney or client trust account.
Attorney fees and costs are paid from the proceeds. Medical providers on a lien basis and any statutory lienholders are required to be reimbursed subject to applicable reductions. You should be clear on how compensation is divided up and when, before you hire your attorney.
More Questions to Ask Your Personal Injury Attorney
There are other steps you can take when you explore your options after an accident to make sure you are comfortable with your potential legal representative.
The State Bar of California recommends sorting out a few more details before signing an agreement with a lawyer:
- Ask for an estimate on exactly what you’ll be charged.
- You can always get another lawyer to look over a contingency agreement to make sure everything works in your best interest.
- A fee agreement could also list your obligations as a client. This may include clauses about being honest with your attorney and cooperating with their efforts. Make sure you are okay with any clause that states what’s expected of you.
- You can ask an attorney to remove or add any clause to an agreement form.
- Ask who else might work on the claim. Legal assistants and paralegals may take a part in building your case. Find out how will their work be billed.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer After a California Accident?
For any accident that involves a serious injury, it’s worth your time to discuss what’s available to you and your family with a legal professional. Insurance companies for the at-fault party aren’t required to inform you of your rights as a victim.
A personal injury lawyer makes sure you know how much your physical and financial damages are worth and won’t let an insurance company trick you into taking less. Your attorney also safeguards you from the common tactics insurance companies use to try to rob victims of the compensation they need to pay for recovery.
These tactics can include making you wait until you have a stack of hospital bills before they respond to your claim. They hope you become desperate enough to accept the first “lowball” settlement offer they make. Insurance adjusters might also waste valuable time trying to shift blame in an accident to you.
Your attorney intercepts all of these attacks on your character and turns the tables on insurance providers. You are freed up to focus on the healing process while your attorney deflects the “bad faith” practices that keep insurance company profits soaring each year.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Serving Southern California Victims
If you or a loved one are injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should discuss your case with a proven Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney as soon as possible. You’ll need someone who understands California law and has an extensive background in securing compensation for victims working to rebuild their lives.
Contact the Law Firm of Steers & Associates. Our personal injury team has years of experience litigating every type of injury case. We secure positive outcomes for our clients by meeting insurance companies head-on and holding them 100% accountable for what they’ve been through.
We offer a free and confidential consultation to victims and their families. We want to hear about what happened to you so we can start the process of restoring your physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing
Allen Vaysberg practices personal injury law and works tirelessly to defeat the tactics of insurance companies and large corporations who try to deny justice and fair compensation to injured people.