Unfortunately, many accident victims attempt to handle their claims on their own due to the mistaken belief that hiring a San Diego personal injury attorney is expensive. The truth is that San Diego personal injury lawyers are paid differently than most lawyers, who charge an hourly fee. It never costs anything to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case. Even if you decide to proceed with your case with your attorney’s representation, you will still have no upfront attorney’s fees because your lawyer will receive compensation only if and when you collect compensation, either through a jury trial or a settlement with the insurance company.
To better understand what you will eventually need to pay for legal representation, here’s how an injury lawyer’s fee schedule typically works.
Contingency Fee Agreement
If you hire a San Diego personal injury attorney, your lawyer will not be paid anything until and unless you win your claim. If you are successful, you will need to pay your lawyer’s fees which are typically about one-third of your ultimate settlement amount. If your case is not successful, you will owe your lawyer nothing. This type of arrangement is legally known as a contingency fee agreement.
If you decide to have legal representation after your initial free consultation, you will sign a fee agreement that explains how your lawyer will be paid if you win the case and the percentage amounts you and your lawyer will receive.
While attorney’s fees represent most of the costs of legal representation, there may be other fees associated with your case. Your lawyer will pay many costs to prepare and negotiate your claim, such as the cost of hiring expert testimony, deposition expenses, and office fees. These miscellaneous fees will always be deducted from your settlement before your lawyer takes their percentage of your compensation.
With a contingency fee basis, you will have experienced legal representation throughout your claims process without out-of-pocket legal expenses. With representation from San Diego personal injury lawyers, you will have help building your claim, seeking expert testimony about liability and damages, and experienced help negotiating with the insurance company for the compensation you deserve.
To demonstrate how a contingency fee agreement works, assume you approve a settlement from the insurance company for $15,000. Your lawyer’s expenses for preparing your case are $500, which are paid first to reduce the settlement to $14,500. Next, your injury lawyer receives compensation of one-third ($4,833) which leaves $9,667. This will be your final settlement amount.
How Much Do San Diego Personal Injury Lawyers Charge?
The average San Diego personal injury lawyer has a fee schedule of one-third on a contingency fee basis, although this fee can vary a great deal based on your liability (which impacts the complication of your case), the lawyer’s level of experience, and the amount of time it will take to prepare your claim.
You can expect a higher fee if your case must go to court. Fortunately, this is unlikely because the overwhelming majority of personal injury claims are settled with the insurer before going to trial.
Is Hiring an Injury Lawyer Worth it?
Because personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, you have nothing to lose by seeking legal representation during your personal injury case. An experienced attorney can help you understand how much your claim is really worth and better negotiate with the insurance company and their team of lawyers to seek maximum compensation on your behalf. Your lawyer will also better understand the legal process and improve your odds of success. Research shows that injury victims who are represented by a lawyer tend to receive higher settlement amounts as well. When you hire a San Diego personal injury attorney, you can enjoy these important benefits during this difficult time without any upfront legal costs.