How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
There is no firm answer when it comes to how much a personal injury lawyer costs because every case is different. Yet, many personal injury lawyers understand the financial toll an accident can take. So, they structure their payments to make legal help accessible to those who want it.
Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency, which means that their fees are contingent on winning your case. They take their payment as a percentage of your award or settlement. Put another way, your lawyer only gets paid when you win, not when you lose. This setup means that personal injury lawyers are highly motivated to work hard and win your case.
What Does It Mean to Operate on a Contingency-Fee Basis?
In contingency-fee arrangements, personal injury lawyers receive a portion of the award for your case, whether that comes from a jury verdict or an out-of-court settlement.
Again, you never have to pay anything upfront or out of pocket. No matter what your current financial state is, you can afford a personal injury lawyer.
Personal injury lawyers also typically offer free case consultations. There’s also no obligation when you call; the consultation typically comes with no strings attached.
Your Lawyer’s Fees Depend on Your Case’s Obligations
When you partner with a personal injury lawyer, they outline your payment arrangement in writing. That way, you know what to expect from the very beginning of your partnership.
Your lawyer may base their attorney’s fees on:
- Your case’s consulting fees. A law firm finances your case’s obligations until its conclusion. Some of those obligations may require consulting with field experts, such as accident reconstruction specialists. Your lawyer’s attorney’s fees may consider how much it costs to speak with these professionals.
- Your lawyer’s time and efforts. Some personal injury cases are more straightforward than others. Your lawyer may charge more for a case that could take months to resolve rather than one that could take a few weeks.
- How much you’re pursuing. Your lawyer’s fees come as a percentage of the funds they recover for you. The more money you recover, the more money your lawyer can take as their attorney’s fees.
- The lawyer’s experience. A lawyer with decades of experience could charge more than a lawyer fresh out of law school. This experience works to the client’s benefit. It generally means that the lawyer has more resources and connections when managing injury claims.
Lawyers are bound by ethical standards when it comes to operating on a contingency-fee basis. Although they take a percentage of your financial recovery, they cannot take all of it. When your case ends, you should get compensation that accounts for your injury-related damages.
Your Personal Injury Lawyer May Base Their Fees on Your Damages’ Value
Your lawyer might not offer a contingency-based-arrangement until they know the cost of your damages. Compensable losses in your case may comprise:
You can recover economic damages for concrete losses directly related to your injuries. A lawyer can use bills, receipts, tax documents, and expert witnesses to estimate the value of your tangible losses.
These losses include:
- Medical expenses, such as ambulance bills, emergency room treatment, diagnostic imaging scans, surgeries, hospital stays, follow-up appointments, prescription medications, and more
- Anticipated medical expenses for future procedures or ongoing care
- Medical equipment, such as braces, scooters, wheelchairs, canes, crutches, walkers, diapers, catheters, hospital beds, and more
- Home modifications, such as ramps, accessible bathrooms, widened hallways and doors, and more
- Property damage for the repair or replacement of your vehicle damaged in the accident (if applicable)
- Loss of earnings for the temporary or permanent loss of your salary, wages, tips, and more
Non-Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Case
You can recover non-economic damages for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, caused by your accident. Estimating non-economic damages is challenging because there are no bills or receipts related to your physical and emotional pain.
However, a personal injury lawyer with experience handling cases like yours could know how to put a dollar value on:
- Physical pain
- Loss of a limb or other body part
- Permanent disability
- Scarring or other disfigurement
- Multiple surgeries or other treatments
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of ability to participate in hobbies or other activities
- Reduced quality of life
Wrongful Death-Related Damages
No amount of money can replace your family member. Yet, seeking damages for wrongful death gives you a chance to hold the responsible party accountable for their negligent behavior. Many states permit the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased party to recover these damages. If none of these parties exist, a personal representative can seek damages on behalf of the decedent’s estate.
Potential damages for wrongful death include:
- Medical expenses for the care your loved one received before he or she passed away
- Funeral and burial expenses, such as fees for cremation or embalming, an urn or casket, flowers, the memorial service, and transportation
- Loss of financial support that your loved one would have provided
- Loss of care, companionship, guidance, love, and affection that your loved one would have provided had they lived
How Much Does It Cost to Manage a Personal Injury Case on My Own?
Do not manage an injury case on your own hoping to save money.
- You need information to support your case—and that costs money. It costs money to request certain documents and consult with field experts. You cannot escape paying for these obligations if you forgo legal help.
- Mistakes and filing errors can cost you. If you need to file a lawsuit, you must pay to file certain items. If you make a mistake, the clerk won’t give you a refund; instead, you may have to pay a second time to file. With multiple errors, this could cost you more than allowing a lawyer to handle it.
- You may not understand the cost of your damages. A lawyer uses their insight and years of experience to determine how much you’re owed, including how much you deserve for pain and suffering. If you don’t understand the cost of your losses, you could end up accepting less than you need from the insurer, adding to your financial strain.
You don’t have to manage a case’s obligations on your own. Instead, you can entrust your case to a personal injury lawyer.
How Can a Lawyer Help With a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury lawyer can help with every aspect of your personal injury case, from determining whether you have a valid case to filing a lawsuit against the responsible party. You can call a lawyer from the scene of the accident, in the days or weeks afterward, or even months after the fact. While it’s wise to seek legal help right away, it is never too late to reach out to a lawyer.
A lawyer can help with your personal injury case by:
Evaluating Your Case
As noted, many personal injury lawyers offer free case consultations. These consultations give you a chance to tell your side of the story, listen to the lawyer’s professional opinion, and see if you feel comfortable working with them. Most of the time, these consultations come with no obligation.
Case consultations also give the personal injury lawyer a chance to determine whether you have a valid case and if it has a good chance of success. After hearing your description of what happened, they can give you an honest assessment and recommend a forward. You can use that information to decide what to do next.
Investigating the Incident That Injured You
Whether you pursue damages through a settlement or a lawsuit, you need evidence to support your claim. A personal injury lawyer can investigate the incident that left you with injuries, looking for evidence of the other party’s negligence.
This evidence may include:
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Police reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Cell phone records
- Toxicology reports
- Security or traffic camera footage
Estimating How Much Your Case Is Worth
You need to know how much your case is worth before you can file a claim. Without a good estimate of your damages, you may accept a lowball settlement offer from the insurance company—leaving you with out-of-pocket damages.
To determine how much you can seek, your lawyer can evaluate:
- Tax documents to learn about your lost income
- Your medical bills to learn about your healthcare expenses
- Repair or replacement bills (if your car sustained damage in an accident, for instance)
- Receipts and invoices for out-of-pocket expenses
As previously mentioned, your lawyer may base their contingency-fee arrangement based on your case’s value.
Communicating With the Insurance Company
A personal injury lawyer can communicate with the insurance company, so you don’t have to. Insurance agents are trained to sound friendly and comforting, so you will open up to them. Yet, as nice as some may sound, they ultimately prioritize their employer’s bottom line. This incentivizes the claims adjuster to offer less than you actually need.
Your lawyer can field all phone calls, emails, and text messages from the insurer, so you can recoup the full cost of your damages.
Negotiating an Insurance Settlement
Armed with evidence, a lawyer can negotiate an out-of-court settlement with the responsible party’s insurance provider. Out-of-court settlements are sometimes the fastest and easiest way to resolve personal injury cases. Here, the insurance company provides financial compensation. In return, you agree not to file a lawsuit or request additional damages.
Filing a Lawsuit Against the Responsible Party
Although most personal injury cases end with out-of-court settlements, some do not. In that instance, you may need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party to get fair and full compensation. A lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf and represent you in court.
Keeping You up to Date About Your Case
Throughout this process, a personal injury lawyer should provide you with responsive legal care. They should communicate with you regularly to let you know about your case’s progress, respond to your emails and phone calls promptly, and answer your questions.
A personal injury case can be stressful and confusing. However, a lawyer can make matters clearer and reduce your stress. This way, you can focus on getting better.
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
Before hiring a lawyer, you may wonder if you have the basis of a personal injury case. If another party’s negligence caused you to suffer injuries (and incur various financial losses), you can file an injury claim or lawsuit.
Some examples of personal injury cases include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Rideshare accidents
- Aviation accidents
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death
If you want a personal injury lawyer to help you, look for one who has experience handling cases like yours. A lawyer who has handled similar cases can offer further insight into how much it costs to retain their services.
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
You do not have forever to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for your injuries. For example, under Arizona law, you generally have two years to file a lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death. If you delay legal action, you may forfeit your legal rights. Moreover, you could have a hard time finding an injury lawyer. Even the most experienced lawyers need ample time to build a strong case.
You Can Learn More About Partnering With a Lawyer During a Free Consultation
You don’t have to be in the dark about your legal options after suffering harm. You can learn more about partnering with an injury lawyer during a free case review.
Here, you can ask a representative questions about your case and create a plan of action moving forward. Because of the state’s statute of limitations, connect with a personal injury law firm as soon as possible.