If you have been injured as a result of someone’s negligence, you may have a viable claim to ask for compensation for your injury. You can go to court to ask for payment for your lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
However, you may be worried that you cannot afford a lawyer to help you navigate the complex rules of justice.
If you are wondering “how much does a lawyer cost?”, here are a few items about paying for legal services that you need to know.
1. Contingency Fees
Most personal injury lawyers will accept your case on a contingency basis. That means, they will get a part of your eventual award from the court or settlement with the opposing party. If you do not receive anything in the lawsuit, neither will the attorney. Therefore, he is very motivated to work hard on your behalf!
A contingency fee is usually about one-third of the final judgment. You may be reluctant to give up 33% of a large settlement if you, for example, slip and fall in a store due to its lack of reasonable maintenance.
Ask yourself: what is your knowledge of premises liability laws? if it is not extensive, you need someone with experience in this area to represent you. One-third is worth it as, without that lawyer’s experience, you may end up with nothing at all.
2. Sliding Scale
Some attorneys will negotiate a sliding scale for their clients. If they expect a quick settlement, they may charge you a lower percentage of the eventual amount received.
If a case is expected to be complicated, time-consuming, and headed for trial, they may take a larger amount of the final sum. You are paying for their time and specialized knowledge.
3. Pro Bono
Some attorneys take cases pro bono, meaning they charge nothing for their services.
Attorneys can decide for themselves which cases to take for free. They may take such a case for political reasons because they think that justice is not being done. They may do it as a favor to a friend. They may do it for someone who is indigent and simply has no ability to pay.
4. Flat Fees
Some attorneys charge flat fees for legal services which are easy to quantify. For example, defending someone in traffic court on a speeding charge or DUI can usually be handled by a lawyer for a flat fee.
You will also be responsible for costs and expenses. These can include photocopying and travel time.
5. Hourly Fees
Some attorneys charge hourly. Depending on their experience and specialty, these hourly rates can range anywhere from $150 to thousands of dollars per hour. Attorneys in big corporate law firms in big cities working with large companies usually charge the most.
If you have a complex case where millions of dollars are at stake, paying top dollar for the best legal advice is a small price to pay. However, if you are looking for help from a personal injury or other individual matter, you can find excellent representation at a more reasonable rate.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost? Less Than Not Having One
A lawyer can help you file paperwork, argue with your opponent, investigate mysterious circumstances, and convince a judge or jury you are right. Without a lawyer, you are far less likely to prevail in even the most straightforward legal claims.
If you are wondering how much does a lawyer cost, ask yourself if you can afford NOT to hire one. Investing in legal expertise inevitably will pay off in the long run. You can’t do it yourself.
Or, as the saying goes, “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.”
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