Many people who need a lawyer’s help are afraid that they may run up a bill that they cannot pay. Even though a lawyer could help with their situation, they may hesitate to get the help that they need out of fear of cost. When people think of lawyers, they often associate them with bills of hundreds of dollars per hour for their time. However, this is not true for all lawyers. Most reputable lawyers who represent injured clients use an entirely different free structure, called a contingency fee. In this situation, it would cost you nothing to consult with or hire a lawyer for your case.
How Lawyers Charge for Their Services
Lawyers have three primary fee structures when it comes to charging for services:
- Hourly basis
- Flat fee basis
- contingency basis
Many attorneys work on an hourly basis. This would include professionals like divorce lawyers or a trusts and estates attorneys. When they pick up the phone or begin to read your email, they start the time clock. You would pay them their hourly rate for, typically, every tenth of an hour. The good news is that if you are an accident victim, this should not apply to you.
Personal Injury Lawyers Don’t Bill You for a Conversation
First, most quality personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations. An attorney wants to speak to you about their case. They have every interest in making themselves fully available to you to answer questions. This is how they get business, too. They encourage you to contact them online or over the phone to have an initial conversation, which also allows them to learn more about your case before they commit to take it.
The consultation the injury lawyer provides should be free. You do not have any agreement at all with the attorney when you have the free consultation. They are not your lawyer yet until you sign a representation agreement. If you speak to the attorney about your case and then decide that they are not the right lawyer, you are free to go your own way without getting a bill for their time. The free consultation is a service that the attorney offers to make the initial connection with potential clients and evaluate the case.
Cost Should Not Concern You When You Sustain Injuries
Never let cost worries get in the way of getting the legal advice you need for your personal injury case. You should be able to talk to an injury attorney without fear of getting a bill that you cannot afford. It is important not to lose valuable time worrying about cost when a lawyer could be gathering evidence in your case.
You can even speak to more than one lawyer for their free consultations if you want to compare. This gives you the ability to compare attorneys to find the right one for you. Attorneys usually appreciate the ability to speak to you at an initial consultation. You are not inconveniencing them or wasting their time. This is all part of their job. The understanding is that not every person who approaches them for an initial consultation will end up hiring them.
Beyond that, when hiring a lawyer on a full contingency basis, you will never receive a bill from your lawyer for their services. Instead, the lawyer will handle the costs of the case and not be paid for the time spent representing you. The lawyer will then receive an agreed upon percentage of the recovery and be reimbursed the costs advanced to handle the case if there is a successful recovery.
Contingency Means That You Won’t Receive Unexpected Bills
Contingency representation is different from the traditional hourly basis of billing. Here, the lawyer is only paid if your case results in a money recovery for you. If your case is not successful, and you do not receive anything, you do not owe the lawyer for their services.
Your lawyer takes on a considerable amount of risk when they agree to represent you in a personal injury case on a contingency basis. They could be in a position where they spend countless hours on your case and come away without anything to show for their effort. In that way, they have every reason to do their best to make sure you win your case. They commit to giving you diligent representation, which means that they will invest whatever time is necessary to fight for your legal rights.
You should expect the same service and responsiveness from your lawyer even if being represented on a contingency fee. Your lawyer should return your calls and emails in a reasonable amount of time during their representation. Personal injury attorneys know they must communicate with you even if they are not billing you for the time spent.
Because of the costs a personal injury attorney advances for your case, the time spent, and the risk taken if the case is unsuccessful, contingency fee lawyers do their absolute best to win. This is because they are only paid if your case settles or once you win in civil court. In other words, a lack of hourly bills does not necessarily mean the attorney works for free (i.e. pro bono)—but that the representation does not require out of pocket or up front costs to you.
If fear of cost is keeping you from picking up the phone to start getting the legal help that you need, you can be relieved of that worry. Do not hesitate to seek a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer after an accidental injury.