How Much Do Accident Lawyers Charge?
Many injured victims are rightly worried about how much it costs to hire a lawyer to represent them in an accident dispute.
After all, many victims are already feeling overwhelmed with medical bills that never stop arriving at home.
Some are even unable to work during this critical time, which makes them feel even more financially vulnerable.
If you would like to schedule for a free case review contact the Law Offices of Steve Roberts today 720-515-7058
Fortunately, an experienced accident lawyer in Denver should not be out of reach. Read on to better understand how lawyers charge clients for their services.
Hourly Billing: The Traditional Approach
For centuries, lawyers billed clients by the hour. The client and lawyer would agree to an hourly rate, and then the lawyer would bill in increments for any work done. The lawyer sent the client a monthly bill, which the client would pay in a timely manner. This approach is still used in many cases, such as divorce or criminal law, but is no longer popular in personal injury cases unless the lawyer represents defendants.
Contingency Fee Agreements: Making Lawyers Affordable
Personal injury lawyers in Denver usually offer injured clients a contingency fee agreement. Under this agreement, clients do not pay any lawyer fees upfront. Instead, the attorney takes a percentage of the settlement or jury verdict only after they win your case. In other words, your lawyer gets paid only when you get paid. If they lose your case, then the lawyer gets nothing.
Contingency fee arrangements benefit both clients and lawyers. For clients, you gain access to a high-quality personal injury attorney without having to pay anything upfront. Excellent legal representation is therefore much more affordable.
Lawyers benefit from contingency agreements, also. They have an incentive not to take cases that lack merit, because otherwise they will spend hundreds of hours on a hopeless case that never nets them any money. Lawyers also have an incentive to maximize the amount their clients get, since that will also increase the amount they get.
At the Law Office of Steve Roberts, we work strictly on contingency. We have found that this method works best for our clients and for the type of cases that we handle.
Contingency Fee Examples
Imagine that you and your lawyer agree that he will take 33% of any amount that you are awarded in a settlement. If your settlement is $120,000, then your lawyer will receive $40,000 and you will receive $80,000.
However, if your lawyer can increase your compensation to $150,000, then he will receive $50,000 and you will receive the remaining $100,000. As you can see, a contingency agreement creates an incentive for your lawyer to do everything ethically possible to increase the amount of compensation paid out to you.
Court Costs and Fees
Although you don’t have to pay any attorney’s fees upfront, you probably will be responsible for other costs and fees associated with your lawsuit. For example, you will need to pay for:
- Fees to file documents with the court
- Photocopying and mailing fees
- Fees to access medical records
- Costs associated with a deposition, such as the cost of a court reporter to take down the questions and answers
Lawyers handle these fees in different ways. Some lawyers might advance you the costs and then take them out of your final settlement. For example, you might incur $8,000 in fees and court costs. If you get $50,000 from your settlement, then the lawyer will withhold the $8,000 to reimburse him for the costs of the lawsuit.
Other lawyers will require that you pay the costs and fees as they are incurred. You might receive a monthly bill for these amounts, which you are expected to pay when due.
At the Law Office of Steve Roberts, we will gladly talk to you about ways to minimize your court costs and fees, as well as the method we use for payment. Please schedule your free case review to discuss these matters.
Read Your Fee Agreement Closely
Whatever lawyer you hire should provide you with a contingency fee agreement, which you should read closely. This agreement should be in writing and not an oral agreement. It might go by a different name, such as an “engagement letter.” Whatever its title, the letter will contain important information, such as:
- The percentage the lawyer will receive if the case settles or you win at trial
- How court costs and fees will be billed
- Your own obligations in the case
This agreement is the basis of your contract with the lawyer. You will need to sign and date it, so read the agreement closely so that you agree with all of the information contained. If you disagree with something, or if it is unclear, call up your attorney and hammer out your disagreement. This agreement letter will control any dispute you have with your lawyer, so make sure you understand it.
If you win your case, then the defendant will write a check which should go to your lawyer. Your lawyer should tell you when he receives it and explain what he deducted from the check, such as his fee, court costs, etc. Your lawyer will then send your portion to you.
If you have any question at all, you should speak with your lawyer, who has a duty to keep your portion of the proceeds safe in a bank account. If you have a dispute with your lawyer involve your fee, try to resolve it amicably first before contacting the Colorado Bar Association to ask about arbitrating your dispute.
Have You Been Involved in an Accident? Attorney Steve Roberts Can Help
If you need a Denver accident lawyer, please call the Law Offices of Steve Roberts right away. We offer potential clients a free case review where you can explain the facts surrounding your injury and we can analyze whether you have a valid legal claim. In addition, we are also happy to discuss the details of our contingency fee agreements. We do not charge anything for the case evaluation, and you can agree to hire us or go to a different lawyer. To schedule your meeting, please call 720-515-7058.