Some car accidents can be easily resolved. If you are not injured but the other driver caused the wreck, their insurance should pay for your vehicle repair. When things are more serious, though, you will need a personal injury lawyer to help you get paid what you deserve. Often, victims are reluctant to speak to a lawyer because of concern about the costs. Read on to learn more information about how to handle your personal injury legal bills.
Speak With a Lawyer
Most personal injury lawyers will agree to speak to you free or for a small fee. In that short consultation, you can learn more about how the lawyer charges and get an idea of how much money you can be paid. Personal injury lawyers commonly use three main ways to charge clients legal fees. Once you and the lawyer agree on a way to handle legal fees, you will sign a representation agreement that spells everything out.
The Contingency Fee Plan
With this plan, no upfront money is needed to get the lawyer started on your case. The legal fees, instead, come from a percentage of your winnings. If you win your case and your winnings are $500,000, the lawyer might get paid $200,000 if the agreement specifies a 40% share. You would get $300,000 of the $500,000. If you don't win, you don't owe the lawyer any money. This can spur your lawyer to win larger amounts for you so that they will also benefit. Percentages are negotiable and vary by lawyer and area.
Other lawyers use a flat fee rate although it's not as common with personal injury cases. The lawyer will, after reviewing your case, quote you a flat fee to represent you. In many cases, the flat fee includes negotiating with the insurer for a settlement. However, it might not include representing you in court. Be sure you know before you sign.
A lot of lawyers use hourly billing methods. They may estimate how much time your case will require and ask you to pay a percentage or part of that amount upfront. This is known as a retainer. The hours the lawyer works on the case are billed against the retainer. When the retainer is used up, the client must pay additional money in some cases. This can be an expensive way to pay legal fees and is more common with criminal and family law issues than with personal injury.
To learn more about dealing with these issues, speak to a personal injury lawyer right away.