If a person is injured in an accident due to another party’s negligence, the injured individual can file a claim to recover compensation for their losses. However, the process can be confusing and overwhelming. This is especially true while you’re healing from your accident-related injuries. Many people in this position recognize that working with a lawyer can improve their chances of recovering the compensation they deserve. But what are the personal injury lawyer fees you can expect to pay? If you feel nervous about attorney’s fees, you may be relieved to know that most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This arrangement makes high-quality legal services available to everyone, regardless of their current financial position.
Can I Afford a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Yes. You really can’t afford not to have one. Having a lawyer increases your claim’s chances of a better financial outcome.
Many people are shocked by the financial costs that accompany their physical pain and emotional trauma after suffering injuries in an accident. These costs can include medical expenses, lost income due to missed time at work, and reduced income capacity due to a disability due to the accident. These expenses can cause accident victims a great deal of anxiety.
Personal injury attorneys understand that most people cannot afford to pay for legal services upfront. This is especially true when dealing with the physical, emotional, and financial fallout of a devastating accident. That’s why personal injury lawyers in South Carolina tend to operate on a contingency basis.
What Is a Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee arrangement allows you to hire an attorney without paying any fees upfront. Instead, the fee is contingent upon the lawyer winning a financial award or settlement for you. If the attorney does not secure a settlement or verdict, you will owe them nothing. No win, no fee.
In addition to allowing you to hire an attorney at no upfront cost, this arrangement offers an additional benefit. Because the attorney will not receive payment unless they win your case, they will be highly motivated to fight aggressively on your behalf.
How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid?
When you and your attorney agree to work on your case together, they will inform you of their fee structure. In general, lawyers tend to take around 33.33 percent of the financial award if your case settles and 40 percent if your case goes to trial. These percentages may be subject to negotiation. Regardless, attorneys should be transparent about the financial arrangements from the beginning. You should review any fee arrangement agreement before you sign it, and your lawyer should give you a copy.
At the end of a successful case, the at-fault party’s insurance company will send payment to your lawyer. Your attorney will then deduct their personal injury lawyer fees and any other liens or costs before passing the rest of the amount to you.
What Additional Costs Might Apply?
While the contingency fee covers your lawyer’s services, additional costs may apply to your case. Your agreement should spell these out clearly. These potential extra costs can include:
- Filing fees for court documents
- Fees for expert witnesses or professional opinions
- Costs related to gathering evidence, such as medical records or police reports
- Deposition costs
- Other administrative or incidental fees
Your lawyer should discuss any expected additional costs with you upfront so you can decide whether it makes sense to move forward with your claim. They will also keep you updated if any surprise costs come up over the course of litigation.
What If I Change Lawyers Partway Through My Case?
Ideally, you would work with the same personal injury lawyer from the start to the finish of your case. Building a solid attorney-client relationship allows you to place trust in your lawyer as they guide you through the claims process. However, circumstances sometimes necessitate finding a new attorney.
If you do switch lawyers mid-case, your new attorney may need to get up to speed. This could involve redoing some previous work or facing tighter deadlines. As a result, you may end up paying higher fees. If you fired your prior lawyer, they may put a lien against your case for their fees for the time they’ve already spent. To avoid complications, always consult both your new and old lawyers before making a switch so you can understand how a change could affect your case timeline and budget.
Contact an Experienced South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney
If you have suffered injuries in South Carolina due to another party’s negligence, the experienced attorneys at Murphy Crantford Meehan are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. We understand that you might be worried that you cannot afford legal assistance, especially after the adverse financial consequences of the accident. However, we are so confident in our ability to secure a favorable result for you that if we take your case, we will charge you no personal injury lawyer fees unless we win. Call us today at (843) 396-3840 or contact us online for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.