Injury victims and their families are often already burdened with a number of serious financial worries: many are struggling to pay medical bills, dealing with lost wages, struggling to pay for various therapies, or even facing funeral costs. It is no surprise that families considering legal action to collect damages are very concerned about how much an attorney will cost. In this post, we will look at the factors that affect attorney fees as well as what injury victims and their families should find out about fees before hiring a West Virginia personal injury lawyer to take on their case.
Understanding Working on Contingency
Most personal injury attorneys, medical malpractice attorneys, and wrongful death attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, also known as a “no win, no fee” basis. This simply means that if you do not receive financial compensation for your losses, either from a settlement or a legal ruling, you do not have to pay attorney fees.
In most cases, if you do receive compensation, the attorney will collect a percentage of your compensation as well as money for case-related expenses. However, you should always clearly delineate fees and payments before you hire your attorney through writing, reviewing, and signing a fee agreement.
Factors That Affect Attorney Fees
The amount that personal injury attorneys charge their clients varies from firm to firm and from attorney to attorney. The variance is based on a number of factors, including:
- The attorney’s experience, as it specifically relates to the case.
- The geographic location of the attorney.
- They attorney’s track record.
- The complexity of your case and its estimated workload.
- What the attorney has historically charged.
Attorney fees may be negotiable. Depending on your case, you may be able to handle some of the legal legwork. In other cases, an attorney or firm may take a case pro bono or at a reduced cost in special circumstances, such as if the case involves someone who is marginalized or someone who can’t pay, such as a senior or child.
The Cost of Handling a Legal Case
Besides the hourly work of the attorneys, paralegals, and assistants working on your case, there are other costs that go into winning or settling a case, including:
- Fees for expert witnesses.
- Court fees for filing documents.
- Travel expenses.
- Office-related costs, such as printing and photocopying.
- Shipping-related costs, such as letters, packaging, and postage.
- Costs of serving court papers.
Questions to Ask When Speaking to an Attorney About Fees
When hiring an attorney, you want to make sure that he or she is experienced, knowledgeable, passionate, and easy to work with. But you also want to make sure that they are charging you a reasonable amount. Before you begin working with an attorney, ask these five questions:
- Do you work on a contingency fee basis?
- Will I need to pay anything if the case is lost?
- How do you calculate your fees?
- When is payment due?
- Can I see an example of a fee agreement?
Remember: it isn’t always the best idea to hire the cheapest attorney you can find as he or she might lack experience or simply not do a thorough job. It also isn’t necessarily the best idea to hire the most expensive attorney – there could be more economical choices who are just as competent. For a free case evaluation to discuss your personal injury case, contact us today.