When you're hurt in an accident that was someone else's fault, you may think about filing a case. However, the cost of an injury attorney can stop you.
The last thing you need is to pay more, after all the medical bills and other costs you have as a result of the accident. You are seeing first-hand how costly it can be to be involved in a personal injury case.
However, there are a few things that can make a big difference. Read on to find out what they are.
What Is a Contingency Basis Fee?
You may not know this, but most injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. What does that mean exactly?
It means if you file an injury claim case, they only get paid if you win the case. Attorney fees for personal injury cases are a percentage of the award.
The first step is meeting with an attorney to find out if you have a case. There is a statute of limitations on how long you can wait, and the clock starts the day you are injured.
So, deciding whether to file a case or not is a decision you need to make now. Sometimes the type of injury plays a role, so in cases like these, time is essential.
Your attorney will decide if there is a case to be filed and what compensation should be sought. What does that amount include or consider? Here's a list of possibilities:
Medical Treatment Costs
Any costs you had to pay for out of pocket are covered here.
If you lost your job, suffered a reduction in salary or didn't get paid during your recuperation, this section considers compensation for it.
This compensation can consist of vehicles, articles of clothing, technology, or any other items damaged due to your accident.
Pain and Suffering
The pain you endured due to the accident and recovery from it is considered here.
The psychological impact of an injury can cause fear (panic attacks), anxiety, and sleep loss. Some states consider this separately; still, others lump this in with pain and suffering.
Loss of Enjoyment
Following an injury, you may not be able to participate in leisure activities like hobbies, exercise, or recreation (e.g., going out to dinner or catching a movie). Losses like these are also considered in a claim.
Loss of Consortium
Injuries from accidents can cause many things, including rifts in relationships. This section considers this.
Your lawyer will calculate the most sensible amount to ask for based on all these factors. They will know what has the best possibility for a good outcome. If your lawyer says there is no case, that's the best advice to follow.
What Are Injury Attorney Costs?
Attorney fees for personal injury cases are contingent and are a percentage of the award issued or agreed on. There are a few steps to filing a claim before the court grants an award. Let's review what they are before we get into costs.
Get Medical Treatment
First and foremost, get medical treatment, even if you think it's not a big deal. Go to the emergency room, or see your physician. This step is the best thing to do to make sure you stay in good health and will keep an insurance adjuster from thinking your injury was minor.
Consult with a personal injury attorney
Discussing your situation with an attorney for anything more than a very minor claim is a good idea. DIY is great for small personal injury claims, but you will need a professional if you suffered a severe injury to fight for you on critical issues. In general, if you've suffered a broken bone, you've required surgery or a hospital stay, or are out of work for more than a few days, talk to a lawyer.
Once your lawyer investigates by reviewing medical records and any pieces of evidence relating to the claim, you'll know if you have a case or not.
What Can an Injury Attorney Charge?
The Ohio (and most state) Bar Association has clear rules on what injury lawyer fees can include. If you think your Ohio attorney is overcharging, review what is allowed. For example, attorneys can't accept stolen goods as payment or charge excessive fees.
If the lawyer that you are working with seems unknowledgeable or makes you feel uneasy, you should know that reputable Ohio attorneys are usually a member of the bar association, and they have specific continuing education requirements. You can always check with them or the American Bar Association for references.
When you sit to discuss your case with your lawyer, they will suggest a percentage fee. This fee is contingent on them winning the case, and that means you don't pay anything unless they win. The cost will usually be between 33% and 40% of the total award, but you can try to negotiate it with them.
There are a few things your lawyer will consider when setting their contingency rate.
The two most prominent are:
how complicated the case is and the risk in your case
who is bearing the costs for litigation and when
When your case has more uncertainty or is more involved, your lawyer may ask you to pay a higher percentage, likely between 35% and 40%. Still, if your case is straightforward and more likely to succeed, the rate may be between 20% to 25% of the recovery.
Even if your attorney has agreed to work for free (called pro-bono), there are associated costs you may have to pay.
Some examples of fees and expenses you may need to pay are court and filing fees, discovery costs, payments for expert witnesses, costs for obtaining evidence, and a few other incidental charges that are part of the case.
Being injured is never a good experience, but with the right lawyer, you could get an agreeable settlement. Injury attorney costs don't need to put you in debt in most cases since the fees contingent on them winning the case for you.
Take a look at what you need to know about the costs and get in touch with the right lawyer for your case.