We often encounter clients hesitant to seek out a personal injury attorney in Monroe because they fear legal advice will be too costly. In the aftermath of catastrophic injuries, victims deal with mounting medical and repair bills, rehabilitation, and income loss.
Each law office charges different fees. Some attorneys request a retainer and payment as they go along. Others work on a contingency basis and charge you a portion of any settlement you may receive.
How a Personal Injury Attorney in Monroe Bills You
The type of billing depends on the legal representation you require. It’ll fall into one of three categories:
- Per Hour Rate: You pay for the time the Louisiana personal injury law firm spends on your case overall in billable hours. You’ll receive a monthly bill, making it difficult to work out what your overall cost will be.
- A Fixed Fee Rate: These arrangements usually apply to a clearly defined service. A lawyer may, for example, charge a set fee for drawing up a contract and charge these fees upfront.
- Contingency Fee Agreements: Many attorneys agree to file personal injury lawsuits on a contingency basis. In this event, instead of requesting fees upfront, they take a percentage of the damages awarded.
How Much Will You Pay?
The type of fees you pay depends on the following:
- The Type of Litigation: You’ll usually pay more for a criminal defense than you will for a civil suit.
- The Chances of Success: No attorney in Monroe can guarantee the outcome of personal injury cases. If the contingency suit is unsuccessful, the firm may walk away with nothing. Law firms carefully evaluate the merits of each case.
- The Lawyers Specialty: The more specialized the firm’s service, the higher the fees you’ll pay.
- The Attorney’s Success Rate and Experience: A successful, experienced lawyer charges a higher rate than a newly-qualified attorney. The higher their success rate, the greater the demand for their services, and the more they charge.
With contingency cases, you may pay 30% to 40% of your settlement amount.
Isn’t that Quite High?
It may seem so at first, but it’s fair when you consider the amount of work a wrongful death or personal injury suit entails. We’ve become accustomed to the Hollywood interpretation of what a civil suit entails, but the attorney-client relationship is very different in reality. On the big screen, we see the brilliant closing arguments, but not all the research behind them. You only see a fraction of what the legal team does.
In the background, they negotiate with insurance companies, hire private investigators to obtain evidence, write briefs, and research the relevant case history.
Dealing with the justice system is complex and involves much paperwork. While there’s nothing technically stopping you from filing motions and interacting with all the parties, it isn’t easy to know which steps to follow and in what order.
It may also be difficult to determine when to settle and when to continue with the case. While we like to think that everyone will be fair, it seldom works out that way. Not following the correct processes after a loved one has suffered hurts your chances of reaching a fair settlement.
After a car accident, many clients feel overwhelmed. They might be pressured into accepting a bad offer because they cannot cope. Your personal injury attorney in Monroe deals with all the complexities so you can focus on recovery.
Should You Consider an Hourly Rate Instead?
An hourly rate works well when you hire a plumber because it’s easy to gauge how long it’ll take to install a new shower or upgrade your kitchen faucets.
The legal system isn’t as precise, especially when it comes to truck accidents and determining how much your pain and suffering are worth.
Opposing counsel may use several stall tactics to drag the proceedings out. It’s a technique that large corporations typically prefer as they retain a legal team, hoping you’ll either run out of patience or money and settle before your case goes to trial.
Assuming your lawyer charges you $300 an hour, the expenses pile up quickly. For example, if the opposing team calls in eight additional witnesses, your lawyer will have to review their evidence and depose them.
That could mean eight extra billable hours. It doesn’t sound like much, but it adds $2,400 to your bill. Even if it only takes 100 hours to finalize your case, you’ll have to pay a total of $30,000, most of which you’ll need to come up with before settlement.
Even if you don’t win your case, you’re liable for the fees, so you’re taking all the risks. By working on a contingency basis, you share the risks with your lawyer. If you don’t win, neither do they, so they’ll work harder.
Protect Your Rights
Dealing with insurance companies is challenging. Paying out large claims isn’t in their best interest, so they’ll start with low-ball offers. Their attorneys and adjusters are skilled at protecting the insurer’s rights.
They rely on clients not knowing as much about the law as they do, so they’ll use a combination of tactics to pressure you into settling. It may not be fair morally, but it’s all perfectly legal.
Having an experienced lawyer at your side helps you to even the odds and protect your rights.
Do You Feel You Have a Valid Cause of Action?
Schedule a free consultation and find out today. Our team will discuss your case’s details with you and provide an assessment of its merits.
Learn more about your rights and how to protect them by calling Hanks, Ballard & Barth, LLC at (770) 267-8988. Our team will work hard to help you reach an equitable settlement.
It’s not so much about whether you can afford a personal injury attorney in Monroe, but rather a case of whether you can afford not to have one.