How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer?
Question: how much does it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Answer: Usually nothing upfront! Personal injury attorneys will generally not charge you for their time and labor (aka “fees”) until and unless they recover money in your case. That could be through winning at trial or reaching a settlement with the defendant. Your case is taken on a contingency fee basis, which means the attorney will be paid a percentage of the monies ultimately recovered on your behalf, along with the costs of the case.
Usually, the contingency fee percentage depends on whether your case is settled before trial or not. The contingency fee is often lower if the case is settled quickly and no trial is necessary. If the attorney needs to take the case to trial, then a lot more work and time is required, and the contingency fee is usually higher – usually at least 40% of the total recovery.
The costs of the case are distinct from the attorneys’ fees. Costs can include: court filing fees, experts’ fees, private investigator fees, attorneys’ travel expenses, etc.
However, it’s important to note that some personal injury attorneys will require clients to reimburse them for case costs, even if the costs exceed the amount of money won in the lawsuit. So it’s critical that you read the fee agreement (aka retainer agreement) between you and the attorney.
You should find out upfront whether the attorneys you are talking to agree that you will never owe them a single penny for any reason, unless they win the case for you.
What if you’re not happy with your current personal injury attorney and want to hire a new one? Will you owe fees to both? Generally no. If you decide to hire a new lawyer, the attorney’s fees for both will be split once the case is resolved based on the level of service each attorney provided to you, up to the agreed upon contingency fee percentages.
For more information, see our detailed article covering the most important personal injury questions