Understanding Basic Payment Arrangements when Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

July, 2014 by Alma Abell

When it comes time to hire attorneys for personal injury claims you may be wondering how the typical payment structures work. Each law office operates differently, and attorneys understand that each client has a unique situation. While every law office may have standard billing practices, that doesn’t mean you can’t work personally with your attorney to negotiate different billing methods or payment arrangements. Before you attempt to negotiate the best payment arrangements for your situation, it’s a good idea to understand how the average law office works when it comes to billing clients.
Free Consultations and No Charges Until Settlement

Many attorneys for personal injury cases will offer an initial free consultation. The lawyers use this consultation to determine if your case is something they want to proceed with, usually determining right then if the information you provide means that you have a winning case. Many of these attorneys also offer no fees until your settlement, even promising that if you don’t win, you don’t pay. The lawyer is paid a percentage of your settlement fee, and it’s up to you to find out the standard percentage the law office charges and what that would leave you with financially when you win your settlement.

Incurred Charges During the Case

If your attorney does not take a percentage of the settlement, then you may incur charges as they arise. Some of the things you may need to pay for include securing an expert witness, document preparation, depositions, phone calls, and fees to procure the necessary paperwork. Your attorney may take a fee at the beginning of your case to help cover these costs, or you may make payment arrangements throughout the case, depending on the extent and length of your case. If your attorney is willing to take a retainer fee, then costs will be covered as they accrue from the retainer fee.

In some situations, attorneys for personal injury cases work on an advancement basis, where they cover the costs associated with fighting your case and then bill you for the fees. There really is no method that is better than another. The way that your attorney collects the money doesn’t usually change the overall cost of your case, unless you agree to a settlement fee and end up not winning your case.


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