If you are injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s best to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you recover compensation for your injuries and financial losses. However, many injury victims tend to worry about legal fees and how much it will cost to get a qualified attorney.
Typically, the initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer is free. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. Therefore, you don’t pay any money upfront for their legal services. However, not all personal injury law firms may operate on a contingency fee arrangement. When it comes to securing legal representation, the following factors will affect the cost of hiring a lawyer.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
Most personal injury attorneys in San Francisco will offer a free consultation, during which you and the attorney will discuss the merits of your case. It’s crucial that you gather evidence including your medical records, paystubs, medical bills, and any accident-related expenses, and bring them to your free case evaluation. You and the attorney will discuss the facts of your case and how likely you are to recover monetary compensation.
Compensation may come in the form of a settlement or as a judgment awarded to you by a judge or jury in a court of law. An attorney can help you determine if the case is worth pursuing, given the costs and expenses involved and the amount of compensation you are likely to recover.
Most personal injury cases are founded on the legal principle of negligence. There are certain elements that need to be established in order to prove negligence in a personal injury claim. These elements include:
- Duty of care – The defendant must have owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
- Breach of the duty of care – The defendant breached the duty of care.
- Causation – The defendant’s careless or harmful actions were a direct cause of the accident.
- Damages – The plaintiff suffered injuries and damages as a result of the accident.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will help you build a compelling case and prove negligence.
Legal Representation Agreement
If you and your attorney decide that the case should go forward, your attorney will ask you to review and sign a legal representation agreement. This agreement states the terms and conditions of how your attorney will represent you and proceed with your case. Some attorneys also include contingency fee agreements.
Contingency Fee Agreement
Most personal injury attorneys offer contingency fee arrangements. This means that the lawyer won’t charge upfront costs for their legal services, but rather, their fees will come out of the final settlement. The contingency fee agreement is a written agreement that states the percentage the attorney will be paid as a fee for his or her services. The contingency fees are typically between 33% to 40% and are only charged if the attorney actually recovers compensation on your behalf.
Hourly Fee Agreement
Some attorneys may offer their legal services on an hourly fee agreement, which means they will charge an hourly rate for the time they spend working on your case. It’s best to ask the lawyer to estimate how much time it will likely take to resolve your claim. Hourly fees can add up quickly and are typically an upfront cost.
The hourly rate can depend on factors including the lawyer’s experience, the services provided, and the complexity of the personal injury case. In addition to an hourly rate, clients may also be responsible for other expenses related to travel or expert witnesses.
Retainer Fee Agreement
A retainer fee requires an upfront payment. It is an advance fee deposit that is paid upfront, like a down payment, to secure a lawyer’s availability to take on your case. The lawyer will essentially be “on call” to handle your case over a period of time. Legal fees including hourly fees will be subtracted from the retainer until this retainer has been used up.
A flat fee is a one-time fixed fee that an attorney charges upfront for their services, regardless of the number of hours they spend on the case.
Legal Costs Incurred in a San Francisco Personal Injury Case
The legal representation agreement will also state the types of legal costs you may incur while pursuing your personal injury case. These costs may include expenses associated with the following activities involved in pursuing your case:
- Photocopying and faxing documents
- Filing personal injury claims
- Interviewing witnesses and taking depositions
- Photographing the scene of the accident
- Obtaining vehicle inspections
- Expert witness fees for hiring expert witnesses to testify on your behalf
- Court costs such as court filing fees
Most personal injury cases are settled without the need for a lawsuit. However, if it is not possible to reach an agreement with the insurance company, the case may need to be litigated in court. In this case, the legal cost will also include the court fees for filing a lawsuit. It is important to discuss fee arrangements and expectations with a lawyer before engaging in their services or signing a written fee agreement to avoid any misunderstandings or surprises.
Your Final Cost
In a contingency fee arrangement, you will not be asked to pay for any of the legal costs or upfront fees, as they will be accounted for by your attorney. Once a settlement or judgment has been won and received, the attorney’s law firm will deduct the agreed-upon contingency fee, along with any expenses they advanced for the case, and you will receive the remaining balance with a copy of the accounting report.
How Can a San Francisco Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you hold the at-fault party responsible for compensating you for damages including:
- The cost of the medical care needed to treat your injuries
- Mental distress
- Lost wages and income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Property damage
Contact Experienced California Personal Injury Lawyers
At Golden Accident Lawyers, our San Francisco personal injury lawyers handle cases involving car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, rideshare accidents, and workers’ compensation. The initial consultation is free, and we operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will owe us nothing unless we win your case.
Establishing a trusted attorney-client relationship with our personal injury attorney is only the beginning. We will fight tirelessly to get you the medical care you need and the compensation you deserve. Contact Golden State Accident Lawyers today to have your case heard and evaluated by one of our trusted San Francisco personal injury lawyers.