So, you were in an accident that was not your fault. Now you have a bunch of medical bills to deal with, maybe you can’t work, and you have expenses piling up. It’s a lot to handle, and perhaps you think hiring a personal injury lawyer might help.
But the thought of legal fees can be pretty scary. Money is already tight, and the last thing you need is another bill to worry about.
What you may not know is that personal injury lawyers typically employ a payment system that enables anyone to hire them, no matter how much money they have on hand. They understand you already have enough of a burden as it is and want to lift that weight off your shoulders, not add to it.
Here’s more about what it costs to have a lawyer in your corner and how they make sure you can afford their help when you need it the most.
While there are some rare exceptions, most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. What does that mean? It means you don’t have to pay any money upfront, and you don’t owe your attorney any legal fees unless they obtain compensation for you.
Once your case concludes and you receive your insurance settlement or award from a lawsuit, a portion of whatever compensation you recover goes to pay your attorney’s fees. The specific percentage varies among attorneys, so be sure to ask what your attorney charges before hiring them.
The contingency arrangement offers many benefits to clients with personal injury claims.
First of all, the contingency fee arrangement encourages your attorney to maximize the value of your claim because their compensation directly relates to whatever you recover. This means your lawyer will aggressively pursue full and fair compensation on your behalf.
Second, having your attorney work on contingency means you can afford high-quality legal representation without significant financial risk. You deserve an experienced and dedicated advocate in your corner, regardless of your available financial resources.
By shifting the cost of hiring an attorney to the end of your claim, you can engage an advocate who will forcefully protect your rights.
Finally, the contingency fee arrangement means you don’t have to worry about how much time your lawyer spends on your case.
Since you’re not paying your lawyer by the hour, you can relax and focus on treating your injuries without stressing about how many hours they’re working. It’s a way to lessen your burden after a traumatic experience.
What could happen if you decide not to hire a personal injury attorney? For starters, you might not get all the money you’re entitled to. Insurance companies are tough negotiators interested in paying as little for your injuries as possible.
Without a lawyer, you might not know if their settlement offer is fair.
Then there’s the maze of legal rules. It’s easy to be unaware of or miss important deadlines. One wrong turn or missed deadline, and your claim might go up in smoke.
In addition, doing all the legal work of a personal injury claim is not easy. There’s a pile of paperwork, strict rules on what to file, when, and where, and a bunch of legal terms that might seem like they’re in another language. A mistake at any step of the process could derail your case.
And if your case goes to trial, you’ll need to know how to act, what to say, and when to say it. Lawyers have an understanding of what it takes to persuade a judge or jury. Most lay people don’t.
Dealing with a claim is a heavy load to carry, especially when you have severe injuries. Without a lawyer, that weight is all on your shoulders. That’s a heavy burden at a time when you should focus on getting better.
So, while no one says you must hire a lawyer, not having one will make your case harder for you.
Contact a personal injury lawyer immediately after an accident. For one thing, you want to give your attorney as much time as possible to research and build your case. You have a limited window to take legal action after an accident, so allow your lawyer as much time as you can to work on your behalf.
Second, critical evidence from the accident scene can deteriorate or disappear within hours or days. This evidence often plays a starring role in a personal injury claim, and a lawyer knows how to find and preserve it.
Finally, hiring a lawyer immediately after an accident can help you get your money faster. If you have medical bills piling up and miss work for a while, the compensation from a personal injury claim is the financial lifeline you need.
The sooner your attorney can begin negotiations with the other party and their insurer, the faster your case will conclude, shortening the time before you receive your compensation.
Before you select a personal injury lawyer to represent you, you want the right person for the job.
These questions can help you find a lawyer who knows their stuff:
Some personal injury lawyers focus on particular types of accidents, while others take a broader range of cases. Before hiring an attorney, ask how much experience they have with cases like yours.
Common types of accidents personal injury lawyers take include:
One thing to remember about your personal injury claim is that you have a limited window to file a lawsuit after an accident. Each state has a law called a statute of limitations that defines this window.
Some states give you three or four years to file a lawsuit, while others say you must file a suit within one or two years of the date of the accident.
Three or four years seems like a long time, and one or two years seems sufficient to build a strong case. However, it is in your interest to hire an attorney as soon as possible. That way, they can act to preserve essential evidence and build your case without worrying about an imminent deadline.
Once you’ve hired an attorney, here are the basic steps in the timeline of a personal injury claim:
We Are Here For You 24/7
“Really pleased with Boohoff Law! Received immediate responses when I had any questions. Treated amazingly by all staff … made this process a true breeze!”