Every year, hundreds of thousands of people suffer personal injuries due to someone else’s negligence. Some of those people file a lawsuit and are awarded a financial recovery for their medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages related to the injury. But many people who suffer a personal injury are hesitant to file a claim because they are concerned about the legal fees they will incur. They don’t know how fees for personal injury cases are charged, and are often worried about what they will owe if the case is not successful.
How Do Personal Injury Attorneys Charge Fees?
In general, there are three ways that attorneys structure fees for their clients:
- Fixed rate – Also known as a flat fee, it is an amount that a lawyer will charge for the case regardless of the time spent on it or the outcome.
- Hourly fee – The attorney charges a per hour fee for each hour that he or she (or other law firm staff members) spend working on the case.
- Contingency fee – The attorney is paid upon the settlement or winning of the case. The amount he or she collects is a percentage of the financial recovery.
Typically, personal injury lawyers use the contingency fee structure to charge their clients. That means that if the case is not settled or won in court, the attorneys do not collect any fees. They take cases based on the speculation that they can either settle the case prior to trial, or that they can successfully litigate the case in the courtroom.
How Do Contingency Fees Work?
Most people do not have thousands of dollars at their disposal to hire a legal team to litigate their personal injury claim. Contingency fee options, like the ones we use at Ross Feller Casey, were designed with those clients in mind. There are no upfront fees charged, and the attorney will not get paid until the case is settled or won.
This is a huge advantage for clients as it allows them access to the legal advice, support, and expertise of a successful personal injury firm. Additionally, it gives them access to professional investigators and medical experts who they would not be able to hire on their own.
Cases worked on a contingency basis are also advantageous to the client because once the attorney decides that the lawsuit has merit, clients are assured that the attorney and his or her team will work diligently to win the case – their bottom line depends on it.
Only when the case is over and a settlement or verdict has been made in favor of the client do fees have to be paid, and it is only a percentage of the financial award.
What is the Cost of a Consultation?
Usually, a legal consultation for a personal injury case in Pennsylvania is free. The consultation will consist of a review of your case and any relevant medical records. That evaluation will allow the attorney to decide whether or not you have a case, and how to proceed. A consultation is the best place to start when you think that you have a claim worth pursuing. You need not worry about the attorney giving his or her honest opinion about the case, because they will not want to invest their time and resources if they think that they cannot win your case.
What Are the Expenses for Building a Personal Injury Case?
There is a huge amount of work required for even the least complicated personal injury cases. They take time, money and discernment to prepare for trial. Attorneys and their teams must investigate the accident or injury, research relevant cases law, determine liability, collect evidence, and consult experts. Working on your case will require phone calls, drafting and filing documents, sending letters, and strategizing. The legal team has to know your case inside and out, all of the intricacies, so that they are able to fully articulate your injury, damages, and value of your claim. Negotiating with the opposing counsel in an attempt to reach a settlement may be ongoing and time-consuming also, as is preparing for a trial.
Some of the other expenses that may go into a personal injury case are:
- Procuring police reports and medical records
- Hiring investigators
- Calling witnesses
- Consulting with medical or other experts
- Attending negotiation meetings
- Court filing fees
- Conducting depositions
- Preparing exhibits for trial
- Keeping you updated and providing you with legal advice
Attorneys who charge contingency fees, perform all this work with no money from you upfront. Be sure to discuss how expenses are to be reconciled if you do not win your case as you may be expected to pay for some of them.
How Do I Proceed with a Personal Injury Case?
If you have been a victim of a personal injury that someone else caused, there is no reason to not have your case evaluated to see if it has merit as a lawsuit. At Ross Feller Casey, we handle all our personal injury cases on contingency, which means there are no fees until your case is settled or won. The consultation to review your case is free. Contact our offices today for an appointment to review your case.