It’s a common enough question, and believe it or not, there’s a simple enough answer: Because they will take your case on a contingency, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney with Walton Telken could cost you nothing out of pocket – they’ll even travel to meet with you if traveling to their office is inconvenient for you. So you have nothing to lose.
Personal Injury Attorney Fees
It can be difficult to understand the types of fees lawyers charge their clients; the following should help you better comprehend what you’re paying for and why. In some states, the American Bar Association even requires attorneys to explain fees to their clients before formally taking a case. If you have any questions about the fees your attorney charges, you should ask for clarification. Generally speaking, the most common ways to pay an attorney are (a) contingency, (b) retainer, and (c) hourly.
Regardless of the method of payment, anytime an attorney takes your case, they will have advanced costs such as postage, office supplies, and other relatively minor, inexpensive necessities that arise in the normal course of doing business. Advanced costs can also include official records and filed documents such as medical records and police reports, for example. You will need to pay these fees regardless of whether your attorney wins your case or not, but you can pay them at the conclusion of your lawsuit.
Personal injury attorneys very commonly accept cases on contingency. You may have heard the term “contingency” before, but do you really know what it means? When an attorney takes a case on contingency, it means that they won’t get paid unless and until they win your case; instead of having you pay anything out of pocket, a portion of your settlement will go to your attorney. This amount can vary depending on the attorney, the type of case, and the state; attorneys that take workers compensation cases in Missouri can’t take more than 25 percent, and in Illinois, they can’t take more than 20 percent.
Although the services provided in a retainer may vary, the attorney’s fees are paid upfront. A retainer is an agreement between an attorney and their client; it details the services that the attorney will provide and the actions the client will take along with a payment schedule and an explanation of the fees. It may also include details of the steps to take if the attorney and client no longer consider the relationship mutually beneficial (i.e., if the professional relationship must be dissolved).
If you are considering hiring an hourly attorney, you may first want to ask the attorney for an estimate of the time it will take to work on and resolve your case. Although you may find an attorney who does excellent work very quickly, you could just as easily find an attorney who works very slowly; take this into consideration when you ask an attorney about their hourly fees. The fast worker may charge more per hour, but you may save money in the long run; a slow worker may charge less, but take a much longer time.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Expenses
A wide variety of expenses may arise as your case progresses; how you pay for them will depend on what you have arranged with your attorney; some of the expenses you may have easily anticipated, but others may come up very unexpectedly. Expenses may include a range of legal fees, including but by no means limited to court filing fees, fees to obtain police reports and medical records, and fees paid to professionals such as expert witnesses and private investigators, for example. Additionally, there may be postage fees and fees for the preparation of exhibits.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Fee Negotiation
When you’re spending thousands, tens of thousands of dollars, or more, you can try to lower your costs. Here are some tips and ideas for saving yourself some money when you are going through the expensive process of a personal injury lawsuit.
- Gather the relevant documents yourself. It’s cheaper and easier for the attorney to have you do this; not only will they not have to pay someone else (maybe someone they have on staff) to gather the documents, but the attorney will be able to start work on your case sooner if you have already compiled the documents they need.
- Ask your attorney to lower your contingency fee if your case gets settled out of court. Your attorney will not need to do nearly as much work if your case is settled out of court, and you’re free to at least inquire about a reduced fee if that happens. That way, both you and your attorney have reason to work toward a settlement, which is much cheaper and easier for everyone.
- Ask if your attorney will agree to a lower contingency fee if your settlement is lower than $10,000 or $20,000.
- Start out paying your attorney hourly, at least until they reach the limit you’ve discussed, then switch to a contingency payment plan, especially if the car insurance company offers an amount lower than you wanted.
If you are interested in hiring the experienced personal injury attorneys at Walton Telken, we would be happy to explain our billing structure. Contact us to talk about your case.
The information provided by Walton Telken, LLC in this Blog is not intended to be legal advice, but merely provides general information related to common legal issues. This Blog, and the information contained within it, is Attorney Advertisement. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.