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How Much Does an Accident Lawyer Cost?

There really is no definitive answer to this question. How much a personal injury attorney’s services cost depend on a few factors, such as the following:

  • How long he or she has been practicing;
  • His or her record of previous success;
  • Whether he or she works alone or is part of a firm;
  • Where in the United States he or she is located; and
  • How long your case takes to reach a settlement.

When choosing the right attorney for your case, make sure you discuss his or her fees and receive a quote before committing to any individual lawyer. If a lawyer seems aloof about discussing price or unwilling to provide a cost estimate, do not work with him or her. As a paying client, you need to know if a particular attorney will fit into your budget, what you are getting for the price he or she charges, and whether there are any contingencies to the cost. For example, many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that they only get paid if the client receives a settlement. In these cases, the attorney’s fees nearly always come out of the client’s settlement amount.

Determining a Contingency Fee

Most lawyers’ contingency fees are 33 to 40 percent of the total settlement. To illustrate a contingency fee, imagine you suffer an injury in a car accident and hire an attorney to file and pursue your case with the agreement that she will take 1/3 of your settlement amount as payment. If your case results in a settlement of $90,000, your attorney receives $30,000 and you receive the remaining $60,000 to cover your losses.

Other Types of Fee Agreements

Not all injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. Some charge their clients by the hour and others charge retainer fees.

With retainer fees, an attorney charges the client upfront for a set number of agreed-upon services and policies such as the payment timetable and process of ending the professional relationship.

When an attorney bills his or her clients hourly, the client pays for every hour that the attorney works on his or her case. The range a personal injury attorney can charge per hour is very wide. In the United States, this type of attorney generally charges between $100 and $500 per hour.

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