If you’ve been injured in an accident, your top priority should always be to take care of your health first. Often, part of that priority comes with hiring legal representation to ensure you receive fair compensation to cover your medical bills and other expenses. Before going through this process, you may wonder what the typical personal injury attorney fees are for taking your case. You could also be concerned about what you might owe if you aren’t able to recover any compensation.
This guide reviews typical fees for personal injury cases and your case’s potential outcomes relating to the amount you may have to pay.
How Much Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Charge?
Bergeron Clifford works on a contingency fee basis. The main reason to offer contingency agreements is to ensure that clients don’t need to pay anything upfront, and the attorney only gets paid if they get fair compensation for the client. There are still some attorneys that get paid by the hour, but they usually only charge these rates for certain types of cases or work.
Contingency fees exist to help victims pursue cases in an accessible and considerate way. Otherwise, the hourly fees would accumulate over several months and prevent many from being able to seek fair compensation because they don’t have the means for their legal representation.
The Average Amount
What you end up paying your attorney depends on several factors. More complex claims, such as brain injury lawsuits or spinal injury cases, may require more work and time to bring to court than negotiating a car accident settlement that resulted in less severe injuries. The typical fees for personal injury cases are about a third of your compensation, but your lawyer fees aren’t the only thing you’re required to pay.
Understanding Contingency Fees
When a lawyer offers you a contingency agreement, they’re letting you know that they’re invested in your case. They cover the costs of discovery, depositions, court filings and paying their own staff so that you don’t need to pay anything until the lawsuit is resolved. If your lawyer can’t recover any compensation on your behalf and loses your case, you don’t need to pay them for their services. However, you might still be on the hook for some administrative fees and court costs.
When signing your agreement, the document should highlight all the services covered under contingency and those you’re responsible for. The agreement also states which fees you must pay if you lose your case. In Canada, you can purchase Legal Expense Insurance if you’re bringing forth an injury case, and it covers your court fees and disbursements only if you lose.
The Law Society of Ontario has strict guidelines relating to the terms of what can be included in a contingency fee agreement. This offers a significant benefit to victims, as in the past, firms could employ whatever details they wanted in these contracts.
Fee Amounts Depend on the Case
The fees that you need to pay are referred to as disbursements. They include costs for what the lawyer requires to build the case, such as hiring expert witnesses, performing depositions, sending documents and filing the case with the court. When considering hiring a personal injury lawyer, ask them about their legal process, and what each step of the approach might cost so you aren’t hit with surprises or hidden fees later.
Cases that proceed to court can cost more than those that are settled privately, so it’s difficult to estimate what your disbursements might be. The longer your case takes in court, the complexity of the evidence, and the number of witnesses you need to call are all important factors.
If your case proceeds to court, you might be awarded your disbursements in the judgment. However, some lawsuits are heard before a board or tribunal, and you’re unlikely to recover court and administrative fees if this happens. It’s possible that your lawyer will walk away from their disbursements if they don’t see success with your case.
What Do Personal Injury Attorney Fees Cover?
Typical personal injury attorney fees cover your lawyer and their staff’s services. Instead of billing you an hourly rate, your lawyer takes a percentage of your recovery to pay their staff and themselves at the conclusion of the case. An attorney may also agree to pay a portion of your disbursement fees if you don’t win to reduce your risk.
How Much Do I Have to Pay if I Lose My Case?
It’s difficult to estimate these costs without knowing your case’s complexity and at what point you decide to stop pursuing your claim. At Bergeron Clifford, we advise you each step of the way regarding how likely you are to win the case and whether it’s worth it financially to proceed. Some claims may be winnable while not making financial sense due to what you’re likely to recover and the fees you need to pay. When this is the case, we will let you know whether we think it’s in your best interest to move forward.
Not all claims require paying these costs if you lose, and you can protect yourself with Legal Expense Insurance. If you lose your case and need to pay disbursement fees, you’re not hit with high legal bills that only worsen your situation.
What Happens When I Win My Case?
Once the court approves a settlement or judgment, funds are sent to a trust before deducting your fees and disbursements. After paying the contingency fee, administrative fees and court costs, you receive what remains. In some cases, you could be awarded allocations by the court, and the defendant will be required to cover them. After the money is deposited into the trust, your attorney takes care of the steps needed to get it to you.
Deciding on the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
When consulting personal injury lawyers, discuss how their contingency fee agreement might differ from others and if there is a retainer involved. Reputable lawyers will give you the facts and disclose all your costs so you’re not faced with hidden charges while you are going through a tumultuous time. At Bergeron Clifford, we aim to earn you fair compensation so that you have enough money to cover your medical expenses, court costs and attorney fees once everything is settled.
Personal injury law is our sole focus, and each of our attorneys has extensive experience and a proven track record handling cases like yours. We invite you to read what others have to say about their experiences with our firm before you arrange a free consultation. Contact us today to get started.