Many people believe that hiring a personal injury law firm for a car accident or other personal injury lawsuit costs a proverbial arm and a leg. While lawyers can be expensive, they don’t always have to be. In fact, in many cases, hiring a New Jersey accident attorney can save you money, since you may wind up paying less or receiving more damages than you would have on your own. Lawyers charge clients in a variety of different ways, including:
- Flat fee. Some lawyers charge a flat fee for their services. This is typical in cases where the lawyer knows how approximately how many hours of work will go into resolving the problem. Filing for bankruptcy, for example, is typically a simple process that a lawyer has done many times, so they may just charge a one-time flat fee.
- Hourly fee. A law firm may charge an hourly fee for cases that are unique or may require additional work. This hourly fee can be more or less expensive, depending on the experience of the lawyer and what area of the country they’re in.
- Retainer. An ongoing legal case may be a candidate for a retainer. A retainer is a fee for legal services paid in advance. The money is put into an account and the lawyer works as many hours as the retainer will pay for. Again, the amount clients put into a retainer vary from person to person and from lawyer to lawyer.
- Contingent fees. If you’ve hired a personal injury law firm, chances are they’re operating on a contingent fee basis. A New Jersey accident attorney typically takes on cases they’re sure they can win and will take a 1/3 percentage of the monetary settlement.
You may be reluctant to pay a percentage of your settlement fee to an attorney, but this is often the fairest way to proceed. Hourly fees could result in a fee that takes up your entire settlement. Studies have shown that claimants who are represented by an attorney generally receive settlements that are four times larger than those without an attorney. Your attorney is motivated to maximize your settlement when you’re paying a contingency fee, and while you may pay slightly more, your settlement will also be larger.