How Much Is a Lawyer Consultation Fee?
A serious accident can turn your life upside down. You may sustain a permanent disability, medical debt, and mental trauma. Your family may also suffer, especially if you can’t work and they depend on your income.
In such dire circumstances, the road back to normal is often a long one. For many victims, the journey begins with contacting an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can file a lawsuit if someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing caused the accident, and a successful lawsuit can result in compensation.
Unfortunately, some victims are hesitant to contact a lawyer because they believe that lawyers are expensive. They see lawyers as a luxury item far outside their budget.
Although it’s true that at times hiring a personal injury lawyer can be costly, this doesn’t tell the whole story. The truth is that lawyer’s fees vary widely, and personal injury attorneys, in particular, do their best to make their services accessible to those who are suffering financially after an accident.
Firstly, there are many different kinds of fee arrangements a lawyer might offer. The most common are:
The standard hourly rate is the most common fee arrangement. The lawyer sets an hourly rate to which the client agrees, and the client pays the lawyer each hour of legal work they perform.
Hourly rates can vary widely; some lawyers charge $50 an hour and some lawyers charge more than $500 an hour. The average rate tends to lie between $100 and $300 per hour.
Like with other fee arrangements, hiring a lawyer at an hourly rate has its pros and cons. On the pros side is predictability: many clients have peace of mind knowing they’re locked into a set hourly rate.
Conversely, and ironically, predictability (or lack thereof) is also a con of the hourly rate. Yes, the client knows how much they owe the lawyer for each hour of work, but how much work will the lawyer need to perform? It’s hard to foresee how long it will take to resolve a case, and thus it’s difficult to foresee the final bill after the case finally concludes.
Some attorneys offer a fixed rate for certain services. In a fixed-rate arrangement, the client pays the lawyer a lump sum before performing any legal work. This single lump sum payment is all the compensation the lawyer will receive.
Again, a fixed rate has pros and cons. One major pro is, like the name suggests, a fixed cost; the client knows exactly how much they will have to pay from day one. However, fixed-rate fees are fairly rare and are usually only offered for routine legal services, such as drafting a will.
Contingency Fee Arrangements
Contingency fee arrangements are probably the most affordable from the client’s perspective. In fact, the client usually pays nothing out of pocket at all. Instead of the client paying the lawyer from their own funds, the lawyer takes their fee (usually a set percentage) from the settlement or court award they secure on behalf of their client.
Before establishing a formal working relationship, most lawyers offer a free initial consultation.
As the first formal, in-person meeting between a prospective client and their would-be lawyer, the initial consultation is an opportunity for the lawyer to evaluate the merits of a case in light of the client’s objectives. From the client’s perspective, the initial consultation is a chance to have professional eyes look at their case; it also presents an opportunity for the client to get a feel for what it would be like to work with the lawyer.
In sum, the initial consultation lets both parties answer the question, “do I want to form a professional relationship with this person?”
Typically when first meeting an attorney the initial talk is usually free; it’s a great way to get new clients through the door. However, some lawyers charge a flat fee for all initial consultations. This fee can range from just more than nominal ($20) to something more substantial (well over $100). Finding out the cost of an initial consultation is easy; simply call the lawyer’s office and the secretary can tell you the cost of an initial consultation.
Recovering from a serious accident is challenging; in fact, it may be one of the greatest obstacles a person can overcome. Regardless of the injury accident whether it is a car accident, motorcycle accident, or even a slip and fall, the road back to normal is so grueling because everything else on top of the physical injuries. Accident victims may be out of a job, in medical debt, and suffering from emotional trauma. Facing all of these challenges head-on, while trying to keep your head above water, can seem like a losing battle.
However, victims don’t have to fight these battles alone. Those who were injured by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing have legal rights. An experienced personal injury lawyer can work to vindicate the victim’s rights through the legal system. A successful personal injury lawsuit may result in a significant financial award for the plaintiff, giving the victim and their family much-needed relief in a dire situation.
Although cost is often a concern when seeking legal help, a lawyer can often work with the client to find a payment arrangement that fits their budget.
Accident victims should seek help as soon as possible. Personal injury lawsuits can be lengthy and may require extensive investigation. Additionally, many jurisdictions impose a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims.