When you suffer injuries due to someone else’s negligence, bills may quickly become a serious concern. You may have medical bills pile up. You might miss time at work, leaving you without the income you need to take care of your regular expenses, much less any extra bills related to your injuries. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you might not even know when you will be able to return to work.
With all those other financial burdens, hiring a personal injury attorney may seem completely out of reach, especially if you had an accident that resulted in a serious injury like spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injury, or amputation. Hiring a personal injury lawyer, however, typically costs nothing up front. They only get paid if a financial recovery is made on your behalf.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer: Determining the Cost
Each personal injury case is unique. Regardless of the circumstances of your case, however, most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis—they get paid a percentage of what they recover for you through a negotiated settlement or court verdict. If no money recovered for you, their services are free. Most injury lawyers charge a fee of one third of the gross amount collected, and his or her costs are reimbursed.
Start with a free consultation. During that free consultation, you can get a great deal of information that can help you as you move forward with your claim, including:
- The attorney’s assessment of the likelihood of your claim’s success, and whether you should continue to pursue a legal case
- How much it will cost to file and fight for your claim (attorneys get their costs reimbursed at the time of settlement)
- What services the attorney will perform
- What evidence you will need to gather to help support your claim
Since a free consultation costs you nothing—you have nothing to lose. At that free consultation, the lawyer can help you break down the potential cost of pursuing your claim.
The Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Many people assume that when they hire a personal injury attorney, they get someone to file the paperwork on their behalf and speak for them in court—and if money is a serious concern, they may wonder whether they can handle those tasks for themselves. An experienced personal injury attorney, however, does more than simply file the paperwork. In many cases, a personal injury attorney can do a lot to increase your chances of winning your personal injury claim.
- The attorney can help increase the amount you receive. No one wants to leave money sitting on the table, especially after a serious injury. When you work with a personal injury lawyer, you can often substantially increase the funds you receive. Most clients find that even after they pay the lawyer’s fees, they still take home much more money than if they had attempted to handle the case on their own. In my experience, insurance companies typically offer lawyers more money to settle than an individuals because an attorney better understands what a case is worth and further that he or she will file a lawsuit when needed to obtain a proper result.
- A lawyer can help free up your time. Recovering from an injury may leave you with a tight schedule and a great deal of stress. You have appointments with your doctor, physical therapy appointments, and consultations with specialists to schedule. You may still need to try to keep up with your job, especially if your company allows you to work from home. You have family obligations. Dealing with insurance companies takes up time you may need to take care of other responsibilities. If you hire a lawyer, they will take on that responsibility for you.
- A lawyer can provide valuable legal advice that may prevent you from making a costly mistake. When you deal with an insurance company following an injury, you must exercise care so that you don’t do or say something that could jeopardize your claim. Everything from what you say on the phone with an insurance representative, to the activities you choose to enjoy, to what you post on social media can impact your claim. An attorney can provide valuable legal advice that will prevent you from making errors that could ultimately decrease your compensation for your injuries.
- A lawyer can get the compensation you need in your hands faster. When you suffer serious injuries in an accident, you need money: money to seek medical treatment, to modify your home or vehicle to account for your disabilities, or to allow you to pay for your normal expenses in spite of your inability to work. While you wait for a settlement, you may have creditors calling. You need money fast. While an attorney cannot guarantee a timeline for your claim, you may find that working with an attorney can speed up the process.
- A personal injury attorney can help you better understand the details of your claim. Who really bears responsibility for your injuries? Should you file a claim against more than one party or with more than one insurance company? By working with an attorney, you can get a better idea of exactly who owes you compensation for your injuries. Often, this increases the damages you receive for your injuries.
- An experienced injury lawyer knows how to find the money. Often injury victims don’t know where to look for additional compensation after a serious injury. Lawyers are always on the lookout for additional responsible defendants, excess insurance policies, uninsured and underinsured insurance coverage, medical payment provisions, etc. Often unrepresented plaintiffs leave significant amounts of money on the table because they didn’t know it was available.
- Medical bills and liens can be negotiated. Once a settlement is reached, an injury lawyers job is not done. The reduction of medical bills through negotiations can put much more money in a client’s pocket. Sometimes when an individual settles a case without the benefit of counsel, they can be in for a big surprise as to where the money is actually going. There can be significant medical and health insurance liens to satisfy that the accident victim was unaware of. An experienced lawyer looks into lien issues and attempts to negotiate bills at the time of settlement.
If you suffered serious injuries in an accident, contacting a personal injury attorney can help you get the full compensation you deserve. The goal is to maximize your settlement or verdict. It’s not so much what a personal injury lawyer costs, but the high price of not hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. The longer you wait, the longer it will take to recover damages from your accident, and the more likely it is that you will damage your own claim—so don’t wait to contact an experienced personal injury attorney.