For many people, the cost of an attorney after a serious accident seems prohibitive. Can you afford a personal injury attorney? How much is it going to cost? The answer: a personal injury attorney may be more affordable than you think.
Contingent Fee: a Percentage of What You Recover
Most personal injury claims are handled on a “contingent fee”, which means the fees are based on the amount recovered and you only pay an attorney at the end of the claim out of the recovery.
The cost of hiring a personal injury attorney will vary based on a variety of factors: the extent of your injuries, the insurance company you’re dealing with in your quest for compensation, and whether you and the insurance company can reach a settlement agreement out of court or you need to go to court to seek compensation for your injuries. Even an experienced personal injury attorney may not be able to tell you right off the bat what it will cost to handle your full claim.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you will go in blind. Instead, start with a free consultation with the attorney you’re considering. Ask if the case can be handled on a contingent fee, and make sure you know what the fee percentage is (typically 1/3 of the gross recovery, or 33%, in Minnesota). The attorney will discuss your claim, get a better understanding of what insurance company you must deal with and what challenges you face in your claim, and give you a better idea of what your claim might be worth and the costs you may incur. Since the free consultation costs you nothing, you can go in confident that you will learn more about your claim and how it could impact your finances.
Most contingent fee arrangements are a percentage of the gross recovery plus costs. The “plus costs” sounds scary, but this is just payments to outside vendors for things needed to make your claim, including the cost of getting medical information, investigation and filing fees.
Most personal injury lawyers will not make you pay costs until your case is over, and only if you recover money. Make sure the attorney is not asking you to pay costs as you go or regardless of recovery. This should be spelled out in the Retainer agreement you sign at the beginning of the case.
The Cost of Failing to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Hiring a personal injury attorney can seem daunting, especially as you consider the other costs associated with your injuries. The reality, however, is that failing to hire a personal injury attorney can increase the expenses associated with your injury even more. Consider:
If you don’t hire a personal injury attorney, you may not know whether a compensation offer reflects the full worth of your injuries. Often, after a serious injury, the insurance company will issue a low settlement offer soon after the accident. This settlement offer might not reflect the full amount your injuries deserve–but without an attorney on your side, you may accept it anyway. Insurance companies, especially when they know that you don’t have an attorney on your side, may pressure you to accept the offer or indicate that it’s all you’re going to get. When you work with a personal injury attorney, on the other hand, you will have a better idea of what you actually deserve and should receive for your injuries.
Working with a personal injury attorney may automatically raise the amount the insurance company is willing to offer. Many insurance companies, when they realize that you are working with an attorney, will automatically raise the amount they offer you–frequently to more than what you would have received without an attorney even when the attorney’s fee is taken into consideration. Working with an attorney lets the insurance company know that you’re serious and that you’re going to fight for the compensation they deserve.
An attorney can provide valuable legal advice as you seek compensation for your injuries.Following your accident, an attorney can provide valuable legal advice that will help you avoid a number of common pitfalls and snares. For example, do you know how to handle communications with the insurance company? Do you know how to avoid accepting responsibility for the accident during those conversations? In some cases, even so-called small talk can change the insurance adjuster’s opinion of your case. An attorney can provide you with valuable advice about how to handle those interactions, what you can safely post on social media about your claim, and more.
A personal injury lawyer can take much of the stress off of your shoulders during this difficult time. You have enough to deal with after your accident. You have to keep up with your recovery, attend physical therapy sessions, and, in many cases, make modifications to your home, office, or vehicle to deal with the aftermath of your injuries. The last thing you need is another stress on top of all the others. By putting your claim in the hands of a personal injury attorney, you can allow the attorney to take care of many of those headaches for you, including dealing with the insurance company for you.
A personal injury attorney can help collect vital evidence about your case. In many personal injury claims, if you bear a portion of the responsibility for the accident, you may find the compensation you receive reduced by a corresponding percentage. By working with an attorney, however, you can collect evidence that will prove the other party’s responsibility for your accident. This may include access to expert witnesses who can help reconstruct the scene of your accident or the events that led up to it. By collecting the right evidence, you can show who was really responsible for your injuries, which can help you better seek the compensation you deserve.
Contact Patterson Dahlberg in Rochester, Minnesota Today
Are you struggling following a personal injury? You need a personal injury attorney who will help you avoid missing out on the full compensation you deserve. Contact us today to set up a free consultation and learn more about your rights after a serious accident due to another party’s negligence.