Attorney Ben Schwartz answers a viewer question: Do you offer a free consultation for personal injury cases? I’d like to consider getting an attorney for my personal injury case, but I want to know how much will it cost before I go into an attorney’s office?
I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz.
Today, we’re going to answer a viewer question. “I’d like to consider getting an attorney for my personal injury case, but I want to know how much will it cost before I go into an attorney’s office?”
I can answer this question very simply. Your cost will vary from lawyer to lawyer and from law firm to law firm. It’s also going to vary from case to case because the fees change depending on the types of cases. I can give you a general idea of how it works so you can make a decision whether to go to an attorney after a personal injury accident.
The first thing you should know is that personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to people who have been injured in accidents. I think you’re going to find this is true no matter where you go or where you had your accident. If you contact a law firm, they’re probably willing to give you a free initial consultation or meeting with an attorney to discuss your legal rights.
The second thing that you should know is that when attorneys take a personal injury case, they usually take it on what’s called a contingency fee. Under a contingency fee agreement, you are not paying the attorney by the hour. You’re paying by the percentage, and the percentage will be based on the amount of the settlement, jury verdict, or award of damages. Your attorney will get paid at the end of your case from the winnings or from the settlement money. Generally speaking, I see contingency fee percentages between 35-40% percent of the settlement. We have an office just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From speaking with other attorneys in that area, I believe the standard fee is usually around 40%. We also have an office in Dover, Delaware, and the percentage tends to be different. (around 1/3 of 35% of the awarded amount). We have offices in Salisbury, MD, and Wilmington, DE as well.
The third thing you should know is that the law firm or the attorney is going to advance the costs of litigation. That’s very important to know. Pursuing a personal injury case can be very expensive. I’ll give you a few examples of the expenses involved in personal injury cases:
- It costs money to obtain medical records from the treating physicians, physical therapists, hospitals, etc. We typically spend hundreds of dollars on medical records for a personal injury case.
- It costs money to obtain reports from the physician who is treating the patient/client, so we can also spend hundreds of dollars to get reports from a doctor.
- If we file a lawsuit, there’s a fee in order to file the lawsuit.
- If we need the physician’s testimony to present the case at trial, we typically spend thousands of dollars.
We end up spending thousands of dollars to prosecute your case, and that is not including your attorney’s fees. Those are only the expenses we incur in pursuing the case.
In most personal injury cases, the personal injury attorney or the personal injury law firm is representing the injured person and will advance those costs; meaning, the law firm is going to spend its own money on those things. When the case is settled, or when the case is won, the law firm will be paid back out of your settlement or out of the award of damages. That is in addition to the attorney’s fee.
The main idea here is that these three things: contingency fees, free consultations in personal injury cases, the advancement of the costs of prosecution are really the keys to the courthouse for injured folks. Most people in the United States of America who have an accident or who are out of work due to personal injury have rent or a mortgage to pay. They have mouths to feed, and they can’t afford to spend money on an attorney or litigation expenses over the course of several years in order to get an award of compensation. We offer a free consultation for personal injury cases.
If you’re injured in an auto accident, you can pursue a claim or case with a personal injury attorney’s assistance. You’re not paying upfront and out-of-pocket upfront. Everything is typically paid in the end from the proceeds of the settlement or award of damages.