How to Hire a Lawyer When You Have No Money

People hurt in accidents and incidents beyond their control often face severe financial strain. Medical treatment for an injury can rack up huge bills. Plus, many victims of preventable accidents miss time at work while recuperating, which limits their income.

“I Need a Lawyer, and I Have No Money”

If you find yourself in a situation where you need legal aid, you may be asking yourself how you can afford to hire an attorney. You’ll be happy to know that even if you have no money at all, you can afford a top-notch lawyer to help you seek compensation after an accident that leaves you in dire financial straits. Seeking legal help early on can be crucial in protecting your rights and achieving a favorable outcome in your case. Let’s take a look at some options for you to get the legal advice you need.

Free Legal Services

In criminal cases or the event of a civil case involving family law, you may be assigned a court-appointed attorney. Your state’s local bar association may also be able to direct you to legal aid societies and pro bono programs for help. Lawyers volunteer their time through these programs to provide free legal advice and representation. In these situations, you may receive free legal services, but you might not get much say about who represents you.

Your Options in a Personal Injury Case

Depending on the nature of your legal matters, you may find that your options are wider than you thought. Should you suffer an accident or injury that falls within the milieu of personal injury law, you most likely have the right to retain a lawyer of your choosing. While you peruse law firms that handle personal injury cases such as yours, there are a few important things to keep in mind that may help you make a decision.

When searching for a personal injury lawyer, consider their experience, track record, and skill in handling cases similar to yours. Look for attorneys who focus on the specific area of law relevant to your situation, such as car accidents, medical malpractice, or slip-and-fall incidents. Additionally, read reviews and testimonials from previous clients to get a sense of the lawyer’s reputation and the quality of their services.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can narrow down your options and find a personal injury attorney who is well-suited to help you navigate the legal process and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Additionally, almost all personal injury firms provide free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis. Let’s look at how these options can help you pursue a personal injury case without worrying about how you can afford a lawyer.

Free Consultations

A personal injury attorney provides legal aid to those who have encountered unintentional and avoidable harm caused by another’s negligence. The lawyer will fight to get reparations for the injured party from those responsible for the injury. 

Many lawyers who handle personal injury claims offer free consultations. Why? Personal injury attorneys are committed to providing accessible legal guidance to those who have been injured. A personal injury lawyer eliminates potential costs for a potential client by providing free consultations. This allows those who have suffered an injury to access advice from an experienced legal professional with no financial risk.

A free consultation serves as a “get to know you” of sorts. During such consultations, injured individuals tell the personal injury lawyer about how they got hurt and who they think may bear the blame. The lawyer asks questions that help them figure out if the injured person has a potential legal claim for monetary damages. A potential client can ask the lawyer about his or her services and experience. The two parties can decide if they are compatible to work together as attorneys and clients.

After this initial consultation, the lawyer will usually give the injured person a preliminary assessment of whether they have a potential legal claim for damages. The lawyer cannot make promises or guarantees, of course. This is just a first meeting, after all. 

The lawyer usually attempts to provide the person affected with enough information to allow them to decide whether to engage the lawyer for their case. Again, all of this happens with no up-front payment required.

Contingency Fees

If an injured person decides to hire a personal injury lawyer after the free consultation, the lawyer will virtually always represent the client on contingency. This means the personal injury lawyer does not require any payment from the client before providing legal assistance. Instead, the client agrees to pay the lawyer a percentage of any money that the lawyer winds up recovering for the client. The lawyer’s fee is contingent on the lawyer getting the client receiving compensation.

In other words, even if you have no money to your name, you can still hire an experienced, skilled personal injury lawyer to represent you. Your lawyer will get to work advocating for your interests without you paying a dime upfront. The lawyer will only receive a payment if they successfully obtain compensation for their client. The greater the amount they can secure, the more they will be remunerated.

Nowadays, lawyers and their clients often come to a mutual agreement regarding the attorney’s fee. It is determined by the size of the sum in dispute or the effort and time spent to bring it to fruition.

Whatever the arrangement, the lawyer and client always agree on the percentage upfront, in clear and simple terms. The client should always clearly understand how the lawyer will receive a fee.

How Do Contingency Fees Work if I Win or Lose My Case?

When hiring a lawyer who works on a contingency fee basis, it’s important to understand what expenses you may be responsible for. This is true both in the event of a successful outcome and if your case is unsuccessful.

If you receive a settlement or judgment in your favor:

  • Contingency Fee: A percentage of the settlement or judgment will be paid to the attorney as their fee. This percentage can vary but typically ranges from 33% to 40% of the total amount recovered.
  • Case Expenses: Throughout your case, your attorney may incur certain expenses. These may include filing fees, deposition costs, expert witness fees, and travel expenses. These costs are usually deducted from your portion of the settlement or judgment. In most cases, lawyers will front these expenses and then recoup them from the final settlement.
  • Medical Liens: If your medical treatment was covered by your health insurance or through a medical provider’s lien, those entities may be entitled to reimbursement from your settlement. Your attorney will handle the negotiations and payments to these parties.

If you lose your case:

  • No Contingency Fee: If your case is unsuccessful, you typically do not owe your attorney any contingency fees. The lawyer bears the risk of loss as part of the contingency fee agreement.
  • Case Expenses: In some instances, you may be responsible for reimbursing your attorney for certain out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the case, even if you lose. This can include filing and service fees, deposition costs, and expert witness fees. However, many attorneys will absorb these costs if the case is lost. Discuss this with your lawyer beforehand to understand your potential financial obligations.

Make sure you clearly understand the contingency fee agreement. Discuss all potential expenses and scenarios with your lawyer before signing a representation agreement. A reputable attorney will be transparent about the fee structure and any costs you may be responsible for. They will help you make an informed decision about pursuing your case.

Why Do Personal Injury Lawyers Work on Contingency?

There are two basic reasons. First, working for a contingent fee gives the injured client access to high-quality legal services. Without contingent fee arrangements, many people who desperately need legal help to recover compensation for an injury would never get justice for the harm done to them.

Second, working on contingency lines up the lawyer’s interests with the client’s. Both want the same thing: for the lawyer to obtain the most money possible to pay for the client’s injuries and losses and to accomplish that goal as quickly and efficiently as possible. A personal injury lawyer is focused on ensuring their client is justly compensated for any injury they sustained. They work on the possibility of a successful outcome.

Most personal injury attorneys will bear the cost of pursuing legal action. Their clients don’t have to spend money to obtain justice and recompense for any damages or losses they may have suffered.

Never Let Money Troubles Stop You From Contacting a Personal Injury Lawyer

Tatiana Boohoff Lawyer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney, Tatiana Boohoff

No matter the cause of an injury, anyone who has been hurt due to somebody else’s negligence should still consult with a personal injury attorney. There is no cost to the injured party unless the attorney can recover funds, and then the fee is taken out of the money recovered.

If you or a loved one suffers injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s poor decisions or dangerous actions, you can retain a private attorney. Your powerful lawyer will represent you in seeking compensation for your injuries — no matter how little money you have. 

Personal injury attorneys commit their careers to the fundamental principle that no one should ever go without legal representation in a personal injury case because of financial strain. A personal injury lawyer will not turn you away because you have no money.

To learn about your legal rights after suffering an injury, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today for a free consultation to discuss your eligibility to file a claim.

Boohoff Law
2200 6th Avenue, Suite 768
Seattle, WA 98121
(877) 999-9999

March 21, 2024
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“Boohoff Law definitely stands behind integrity. Tatiana is not only a fantastic attorney in her expertise, she’s also down-to-earth – truly a people person.”
– Elissa M.

“Really pleased with Boohoff Law! Received immediate responses when I had any questions. Treated amazingly by all staff … made this process a true breeze!”

– Caitlyn M.
“Everyone here is so helpful. They jumped through every hoop necessary to get me the settlement I rightfully deserved. They made me feel right at home.”
– Brandy K.

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– Elissa M.
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“Really pleased with Boohoff Law! Received immediate responses when I had any questions. Treated amazingly by all staff … made this process a true breeze!”
– Caitlyn M.
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“Everyone here is so helpful. They jumped through every hoop necessary to get me the settlement I rightfully deserved. They made me feel right at home.”
– Brandy K.

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