What Percentage Does A Personal Injury Lawyer Take?
Lawyer’s fees depend on the type of case and the type of lawyer. An attorney might charge an hourly rate, a flat fee, a retainer or a contingency fee.
Most attorneys who deal with personal injury cases do not charge upfront. Instead, they get paid out of your final settlement. To understand how much a personal injury lawyer takes, it is helpful to know the terminology used to talk about attorney fees and expenses.
Legal Fees vs. Costs
Costs and fees might sound like the same thing, but not in the legal profession. “Fee” refers to the amount an attorney charges to handle a case. “Costs” refers to all other litigation expenses.
- Contingency Fees – Your attorney receives a percentage of your personal injury settlement. Their payment is contingent upon your receiving compensation. If you do not receive compensation, your lawyer does not get paid.
- Hourly Fee – Your attorney gets paid based on an agreed-upon hourly rate for any and all time spent on a client’s case. Lawyers charge an hourly rate depending on their experience, operating expenses, and location. An attorney in a small town might charge $100 per hour versus an experienced attorney in a major metropolitan area might charge $400 per hour.
- Fixed – A fixed or flat rate typically covers a simple or easily defined legal matter, such as writing a basic will, resolving a divorce, or overseeing a real estate closing. The flat fee might not cover additional expenses, like filing costs.
- Retainer – A retainer is a payment made upfront to secure the attorney’s services. Typically; this retainer goes into a special trust account. When the attorney works on your case, they deduct the cost of services from this account.
- Court costs. Court costs cover filing fees, a daily stipend for jurors, any copies of the in-court testimony transcript, and serving the summons and complaint on the defendant. Although a filing fee isn’t much on its own, over the course of a case these fees can add up.
- Expert witness fees. Depending on the needs of the case, an expert witness could cost several hundred dollars per hour to review your case, prepare their notes, and testify at trial. A personal injury lawsuit that goes to trial will most likely need at least one expert witness. For example, you might need an accident reconstructionist to testify how an accident occurred, or an engineer to testify about the car.
- Appeal fee. This covers the cost to appeal or ask a higher court to review your case.
- Administrative expenses. Administrative expenses include postage, copying, transcription, travel, legal research, messenger, and delivery costs.
- Deposition costs. A deposition is the taking of a sworn out-of-court oral testimony of a witness. A stenographer records everything that was said. Costs include paying for the stenographer and for a copy of the transcript. Some depositions last hours, which can increase costs.
- Costs of investigation and information gathering. Medical records and police reports are sometimes free or cost a small fee. If further investigation or research is necessary, these costs can be significant.
- Trial exhibits. Trial exhibits are tangible items to show as evidence at trial. These may include medical records, medical bills, photos of injuries, photos of the accident, or car repair bills.
- Miscellaneous. Other out-of-pocket expenses like flights, rental cars, or hotels.
Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation and only get paid on a contingency fee basis. Personal injury cases include automobile accident lawsuits, medical malpractice claims, bus accident cases, motorcycle accidents, and Uber/Lyft or other rideshare company accidents. The percentage your lawyer takes depends on the type of case and your final settlement amount. If you do not win your case, you do not owe your lawyer any amount.
Typically, the contingency fee percentage is one-third of 33 percent of any settlement or award. For instance, if you received a settlement offer of $30,000, your lawyer will get $10,000 and you will take the remaining $20,000.
Some contingency fee percentages go up to 40 percent. Sometimes, you can try to negotiate a reduced contingency fee. If by the time you’ve hired a personal injury attorney you’ve already done most of the research into your car accident, obtained all necessary documents, and negotiated with the insurance company to raise their initial settlement offer, then your attorney might agree to a lower percentage.
Now that you know a bit about the difference between legal fees and costs, you can see that an experienced personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas is affordable due to contingency fee payments. You can find out more about how we can represent you in your personal injury case when you schedule your Free Consultation. Call Anthem Injury Lawyers today: (702) 857-6000.
Other Contingency Fee Arrangements
- Contingency Hourly Arrangement – Although you don’t pay your attorney until there is a settlement, your attorney will keep track of all hours worked on your case. Once the settlement is received you will pay your attorney based on their hourly rate.
- Mixed Hourly-Contingent Arrangement – You initially pay part of your attorney’s hourly fee and pay the remainder if you obtain a settlement. For example, at a normal rate of $200/hr, you might only pay your attorney $50/hour until you win your case. Once you’ve received your settlement, you pay the remaining $150/hour.
Keeping Track of Costs
Even though most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee agreement, certain costs can add up and be deducted from your final payout. Be sure to get your fee agreement in writing so you can compare your bill to the agreement.
- Typically, your lawyer will receive the settlement check to ensure they get paid for their services. They will place the funds into an escrow account and wait for the funds to clear.
- Your lawyer will then contact you and provide an itemized list of what they deducted from the settlement check to cover any fees, costs, and expenses.
- If you have any outstanding liens, such as unpaid medical bills, your attorney will retain your check until those liens are resolved.
- Once all liens are paid and fees are deducted, the law firm will write you a check for the remaining amount of your settlement.
- Some insurance policies require the insurance company to provide you with an attorney to defend you in a lawsuit.
- Some unions, like labor unions, offer free legal service to their members.
- Depending on the nature of your case, certain rights and advocacy groups might want to get involved and help you. For example, in Southern Nevada, the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada offers direct legal representation, counsel and advice and community legal education to those who cannot afford an attorney. LACSN has a wide variety of programs to help victims of domestic violence and crime, victims of consumer fraud, and children in the foster care system.
Experienced Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured by another party, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can give you legal advice, help you protect your rights, and let you know if you have a valid personal injury claim. Our Las Vegas legal team understands that being a victim in a personal injury incident can be one of the most difficult things you will ever face. As you deal with injuries and wonder how to navigate the system, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced attorney.
Our personal injury lawyers are experienced at handling all types of motor vehicle accident cases, including car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bus accidents, and accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
If you are looking for a law firm with experienced personal injury attorneys, contact Anthem Injury Lawyers today for a free evaluation. Anything that you discuss with us will be protected by the attorney-client relationship. Our phone number is (702) 857-6000. We offer Free Consultations.
Our law office is located in Henderson, but we work with clients all over the Las Vegas Valley.