Hiring a personal injury attorney following a serious accident may sound like an expensive proposition. People oftentimes associate legal representation with high fees, costs, and hourly rates.
When another’s negligence causes an accident that results in injury, whether a slip and fall accident or a motor vehicle accident, victims may be entitled to compensation. Experienced personal injury attorneys regularly fight for the rights of injured victims to seek the compensation they are entitled to.
Attorney’s legal knowledge and experience navigating the personal injury claims process can provide a wealth of benefits for injured victims. Retaining representation may not sound like a bad idea, but how much will it actually cost?
Free Consultations: Helping You Understand Your Rights
Many personal injury law firms offer a free consultation for prospective clients to meet with an attorney so they can explain the circumstances that led to their injury. An initial consultation will allow attorneys to ensure that prospective clients have a better understanding of their legal rights. When consulting with an attorney, injured victims can learn what they should expect throughout the personal injury claims process.
An initial consultation may provide injured victims with:
- An evaluation of their claim. Through a free consultation, an attorney can evaluate the unique circumstances of each case and determine whether victims have a legal right to seek compensation. Attorneys typically ask a series of questions designed to determine the potential value and strength of the claim. In evaluating the specific circumstances of an accident, an attorney may begin to identify potentially liable parties. In addition, after learning about the case, an attorney can suggest various avenues of investigation and assess the likelihood that a case may proceed to trial.
- Information about compensation. Following an accident, injured parties are typically clueless about how to calculate the value of their claim. Common questions include: “How much does the insurance company that covers the liable party owe me after my accident?” or, “How much are my injuries worth?” Answering these questions depends on a variety of factors, which are unique to each claim. For example, the value of a claim may differ based on who or what caused the accident, whether multiple parties were involved, and the coverage limits of at-fault parties’ insurance policies. In addition, compensation will vary based on the severity of the injuries and their impact on victims’ lives, including both short-term and long-term impacts. Due to the nature of personal injury claims and factors involved, attorneys can’t provide prospective clients with a precise estimate of future compensation. However, during the consultation, victims can provide key information to help attorneys predict a realistic range of compensation that they may expect to receive.
- An evaluation of current communications with the responsible parties’ insurance company, including an assessment of any settlement offers they may have provided. Insurance companies are businesses aimed at securing profits, so oftentimes, they make decisions based on their own best interests. When evaluating victims’ claims, insurance providers will try to reduce their financial liability. Providers may attempt to discredit the value of a claim or the extent of a victim’s injuries. Insurance companies may contact victims soon after an accident with hopes of enticing them into accepting a low settlement offer in exchange for quick cash. Victims should be wary of quick settlement offers, as the initial amount typically does not reflect the true value of the claim.
An attorney can evaluate any offers provided by the insurance company and determine whether the amount offered is sufficient to cover victims’ past and future expenses. Attorneys regularly advise injured clients on whether to accept a fair settlement or reject the offer and continue negotiating.
Injured victims are typically burdened by the costs of medical expenses and lost income resulting from missing time from work for recovery. Individuals who suffer serious injuries will be responsible for significant costs, typically over an extended period of time.
For example, victims who suffer spinal cord injuries, may face more than $1 million in costs in just the first year of treatment. Victims who sustain traumatic brain injuries may also face extensive, ongoing treatment expenses. Typically, amputees can expect to deal with high medical expenses, including the costs of replacing prosthetic devices every three to five years, for the rest of their lives.
Not only are victims burdened by extensive medical bills, but those who can’t work must also try to manage a lack of income. The most severe injuries may prevent victims from ever returning to work in the same capacity as they worked before their injuries.
Experienced personal injury attorneys frequently provide services on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee arrangement can help alleviate some financial pressure by permitting victims to pay for costs and attorneys fees after they receive their settlement or compensation award.
How Do Contingency Fees Work?
When an attorney accepts a case on a contingency fee basis, the attorney agrees to provide the full range of legal services necessary to advance a claim. When appropriate, attorneys may negotiate with insurance providers or proceed to litigation on a client’s behalf in exchange for a percentage of any resulting settlement.
he percentage required to retain an attorney’s services varies based on the experience of the attorney and the complexity of the claim. If an attorney suspects that the claim will require an extensive investigation, or involve multiple potentially liable parties, the percentage of the settlement may increase. On the other hand, the percentage required for a relatively simple claim may be lowered.
Under a contingency fee agreement, the attorney’s fees will include the costs of all services performed by the attorney. However, victims typically do not have to worry about paying the fees until they receive a settlement or award for their injuries. Once the victim is compensated by the negligent party or their insurance provider, an attorney may satisfy their fees by collecting a percentage of the victims’ compensation.
What if I Do Not Win Damages From My Claim? How Will I Pay My Attorney?
Most attorneys accept clients on a contingency fee basis, when it is relatively clear that the victim deserves compensation for their injuries. If a victim fails to be awarded compensation for their injuries, attorneys may find it more difficult to collect their fees. Attorneys will carefully assess the strength of each claim before agreeing to provide their services on a contingency fee basis.
How Much Does it Cost to Seek Damages Without an Attorney?
Many accident victims fear that they can’t afford the expenses associated with retaining an attorney, even on a contingency fee basis. As victims continue to incur extensive medical expenses, it may seem financially unrealistic to also pay for the costs of representation.
In many cases, however, it may prove to be more expensive, overall, to pursue a personal injury claim without an attorney. Additionally, waiting to contact an attorney can harm victims’ chances of maximizing their recovery.
Many accident victims find that having an attorney on their side substantially increases the compensation they receive for their injuries even after taking their legal fees into account. An experienced personal injury attorney offers advantages to your claim.
An Attorney Helps Victims Understand Fair Compensation
An attorney who accepts a claim on a contingent fee basis has good reason to help their client pursue maximum compensation for their injuries. Of course, an attorney will always have their client’s best interests in mind, but also, the higher the award, the higher his or her percentage will be.
An attorney can evaluate a claim by estimating victims’ total amount of past and future medical expenses and assessing the extent of the responsible party’s insurance coverage. Further, attorneys often work to demonstrate the impact of victims’ injuries on their daily lives to show the amount of damages related pain and suffering.
After fully investigating the claim and the extent of accident-related damages, an attorney can provide victims with a strong estimate of the true value of their claim. Victims can use an attorney’s estimate as a guideline to determine whether a settlement offer is fair and adequate.
An Attorney Can Investigate Your Accident
When the police compile an auto accident report, they typically only perform a cursory investigation before deciding fault. For example, if there is evidence that a tire blowout contributed to causing the accident, a police report may determine the driver of the defective vehicle was at fault.
On the other hand, an in-depth investigation may reveal that additional parties contributed to causing the accident, and as a result, share responsibility for any accident-related injuries.
Investigations may reveal that the tire blowout was caused by a manufacturer’s defect. Despite the driver’s diligent maintenance and proper upkeep, the blowout occurred with no warning for no apparent reason. In this case, the tire manufacturer may share some degree of liability for the accident.
Perhaps the vehicle that caused the accident belongs to a corporation. An employee who regularly drives the vehicle may notice that the tires are starting to wear and report the issue in accordance with company policies. If the company receives the request and nevertheless fails to address the issue, the company may share liability for an accident caused by the defective, worn tires.
Attorneys can help victims dispute any allegations that they may have contributed to causing the accident. In a tire blowout accident, for example, the insurance company might attempt to claim the victim was following too closely to a car that abruptly stopped in response to a blowout.
An attorney’s investigation can help ascertain the actual causes of the accident to demonstrate the victim in no way contributed to causing the accident. Victims who are in no way responsible for causing the accident can seek full compensation for accident-related damages.
A thorough investigation can prove critical. In a construction site accident, an investigation may uncover which contractor or subcontractor bears liability for the victims’ injuries. Following a slip and fall, the investigation could help uncover poor company policies or provide evidence that the building owner did not take proper precautions to prevent injuries.
An Attorney May Provide Critical Advice
Did you know that what you post on social media can have a significant impact on your claim after a serious accident? Do you know how to answer questions from the insurance company? How should you handle your medical care to maximize your compensation? What should you do if your medical bills are referred to collections before you receive a settlement?
An attorney can provide critical advice at every stage of the personal injury claims process. Experienced attorneys can illustrate the advantages and disadvantages of a client’s options. Additionally, they may help clients manage their daily activities to maximize their compensation.
An Attorney Can Help Expedite the Personal Injury Claims Process
Depending on the complexities associated with a specific claim, the time required to resolve a personal injury claim may vary widely. When multiple parties are involved or an extensive investigation is required, resolving a claim may take longer than straightforward claims involving on the responsible party. While some delays occur with good reason, others may be intentionally caused by the insurance company’s attempt to delay the process, in hopes to entice victims to accept a low settlement.
An attorney can help expedite your claim. Sometimes, just working with an attorney will help an insurance agent take your claim more seriously. Other times, an experienced attorney can help cut through the red tape and push for a resolution. Expediting the claim means that you get the funds that you need in your hands faster, which means you will not have to worry about late fees and penalties on your other bills and that you can make more comprehensive plans for your future medical options.
Hiring an attorney sounds expensive, but in reality, it could represent the best decision you make for your personal injury claim. Before deciding to do it on your own, contact an experienced personal injury attorney for a free consultation regarding your claim. During that consultation, you can ask questions about your rights, get a better idea of how much it will really cost to work with an attorney, and decide whether utilizing a personal injury attorney can help you as you pursue compensation for your injuries.