People are often hesitant to hire a lawyer after being injured through someone else’s negligence because they are worried about being able to afford one. After all, lawyers are notorious for charging insanely high hourly rates, aren’t they? While that may be true for some types of lawyers, injury lawyers tend to instead charge a “contingency fee,” which makes their services more affordable to anyone who needs them.

What Is a Typical Lawyer Fee?

The hourly rate a lawyer will charge typically depends on the level of experience of the lawyer, the type of lawyer you need (criminal defense vs. divorce vs. real estate, etc.), and the area of the country you are in. For example, a lawyer in New York City or San Francisco, where everything is more expensive, will cost more than a lawyer in Columbus or Phenix City!

However, personal injury lawyers work differently. Most, including our firm, set their prices based on a contingency fee rather than an hourly fee. Contingent means “dependent on something else,” and in this case, it means your lawyer’s fee is contingent on you winning your case. If you don’t win, you don’t need to pay your lawyer.

Contingency fees are usually based on a percentage of the settlement you receive. A typical contingency fee is between 33-40%, although this number can be higher or lower depending on the difficulty of the case.

Your lawyer’s fee is the amount you pay to compensate them for their time and work on your case and does not include expenses, which you may also be responsible for paying.

However, not all lawyers charge the same contingency fee. These figures MUST BE IN WRITING in a contract for them to be enforceable. Be careful of firms that charge 40% or more for handling a case without a lawsuit being filed. Sometimes, when cases are especially long and difficult, lawyers may ask for more than 40%, but that is not common in most situations. Read the contract and do not be afraid to ask what the fee is and if it’s changed and why it has changed at every stage of the case.

At our firm, we believe that no one should end up in a worse situation because they hired us. We make sure of it.  But we’ve seen a lot – and not all firms do this. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  Watch out for unethical law firms, especially those from somewhere else who no one has heard of that don’t care about their reputation for fairness in our community.

What are “Expenses” in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Expenses are the costs associated with filing a personal injury lawsuit and would be required even if you didn’t hire a lawyer and wanted to represent yourself. They are mostly associated with getting access to court.

When you do hire a lawyer to represent you in a personal injury lawsuit, they will usually pay these costs themselves and then get reimbursement for them from your settlement if you win.

Common examples of expenses in a personal injury lawsuit include:

  • Police Report and Medical Record Fees – That’s right: these aren’t free. Police stations and hospitals normally charge to provide copies of these, even when it’s your own police report or medical records.
  • Filing Fees – It should come as no surprise that filing a lawsuit involves a lot of paperwork. The courts charge processing fees on that paperwork.
  • Court Reporter Fees – A court reporter will be present to make a transcript of everything said during deposition and trial. You will be charged if you want a copy of these transcripts.
  • Witness Fees – Expert witnesses, such as car crash scene reconstructionists and medical experts, are a key part of many personal injury trials. However, expert witnesses need to be paid for their time.
  • Jury Fees – If you’ve requested a jury trial, the jury members also need to be paid for their time, and the U.S. court system takes the money to do so from the people requesting the trial.

These are not the only expenses that can come up when filing a personal injury lawsuit, but they are the most common.

Many of these expenses apply only when your claim goes to court, which is why at our law firm, we try to settle your claim out of court as often as possible so you can get the money you need sooner and keep more of it.

However, when working with a law firm, don’t be afraid to ask for a line-item list of all the fees you have or will be charged, and what each fee is for. Some unethical law firms might try to slip in extra fees that you shouldn’t need to pay, such as paralegal fees. At our office, we pride ourselves on our transparency, and in making sure that every client is satisfied with what they pay and the amount they walk away with after winning their claim.

Making a Difference in the Lives of Injury Victims in Georgia and Alabama

At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, we are proud members of our community and the reputation we’ve built over the years for fairness, honesty, and integrity.

If you have questions about what you might be expected to pay if you want to file a lawsuit, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team today for a free case evaluation and consultation, along with an explanation of our fee structure and typical expenses.

We’re proud to offer free consultations and contingency fee pricing to make it easier and more affordable for anyone who needs to file a lawsuit to do so, regardless of their economic status. Legal services should be available to everyone, so if you or someone you love are in need of a lawyer after someone else’s negligence, get Gary Bruce on your side today.