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What Does it Cost to Hire a New York Personal Injury Lawyer?

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What Does it Cost to Hire a New York Personal Injury Lawyer?

What Does it Cost to Hire a New York Personal Injury Lawyer?

Personal injury lawyers understand the financial difficulties that accident victims face. They need medical treatment but cannot work to pay for it. As a result, many accident victims feel they need to skip medical appointments, therapy sessions, and prescriptions to make ends meet.

Injury lawyers often offer to work on a contingency fee basis to avoid adding to this pressure. A client pays a contingency fee out of the proceeds of the case. As a result, the lawyer does not collect any fees until the case ends.

This guarantees that the accident victim can save their income and savings for medical treatment and living expenses instead of spending everything on lawyers.

Here is an overview of the costs of hiring a New York personal injury lawyer.

Types of Legal Fees

Lawyers spend their time and devote their firm’s resources to your case. Depending on the type of case and the nature of the work, lawyers will choose how to bill you:

Flat Fee

Lawyers bill a flat fee for a fixed project with a predictable amount of work. Thus, a lawyer might charge a flat fee to incorporate a business, write a will, or file a trademark application. A lawyer quotes a flat fee as a certain amount for the project.

Hourly Fee

Hourly fees usually work best for cases with an unpredictable amount of work. In a contract dispute between two businesses, the case might settle after a few letters, or it might require several years of litigation before the case gets resolved. A lawyer usually quotes an hourly fee as a certain amount per hour.

Contingency Fee

Contingency Fee

Contingency fees compensate the lawyer based on the results the lawyer produces rather than the work the lawyer puts into the case. Most lawyers who handle personal injury cases will charge a contingency fee. Lawyers will quote a contingency fee as a percentage of the settlement or verdict amount they recover in your case.

This percentage represents the amount of your compensation you need to pay the lawyer at the end of the case. If the lawyer quotes a 30% contingency fee and you settle your case for $50,000, you will owe the lawyer $15,000 in legal fees.

What Are the Benefits of a Contingency Fee?

Contingency fees provide clients with several benefits compared to hourly or flat fees:

No Upfront Fees

Since the lawyer does not get paid until the end of the case, they will start your case without any upfront fees. Instead, you only need to sign the fee agreement promising to pay the lawyer a percentage of any settlement or verdict award as a legal fee.

No Fee If You Lose

You will only pay a legal fee if the lawyer recovers compensation for you in a settlement or verdict. If a lawyer recovers $0 for you, the lawyer has earned $0.

Honest Evaluation of Your Case

A lawyer working on a contingency fee basis only makes money by winning cases. If the lawyer loses too many cases, they will need to find a new job.

This means a personal injury lawyer usually focuses on cases with a good chance of winning. When the lawyer offers to take your case, they believe that your case will return a fee that will justify the time and effort the case needs.

Incentives to Maximize Compensation

Lawyers working on a contingency fee basis have an economic incentive to maximize the compensation recovered for you. If the lawyer gets you more compensation, the lawyer collects a larger fee. You and your lawyer’s financial interests align in a contingency fee case.

Retain the Bulk of Your Compensation

The typical contingency fee ranges from 25% to 40%, with an average between 30% and 35%. Even at the higher end of the range, your legal fees will constitute less than half of your compensation.

This might seem like a lot. But if you hire a lawyer for an hourly fee, you could pay your entire damage award or settlement to your lawyer, leaving you with nothing.

Additional Costs to Hire a New York Personal Injury Lawyer

Your contingency fee will cover all of the work that the lawyer performs to settle or litigate your case. This includes:

  • Preparing and filing your insurance claim
  • Responding to claim denials
  • Negotiating for a fair claim settlement
  • Drafting and filing a lawsuit for cases that will not settle
  • Preparing your case for trial
  • Presenting your case to a jury at trial

Your contingency fee will usually not cover certain expenses associated with your case. The lawyer will usually cover these expenses during the case. But once the case ends, you must reimburse the lawyer for those expenses.

Some examples of case expenses include:

  • Court filing fees
  • Court reporter fees
  • Process server fees
  • Expert witness fees

At the end of your case, the lawyer will give you a statement listing all of the costs incurred on your behalf. The lawyer receives reimbursement for these expenses from your injury compensation.

Carefully Review Your New York Personal Injury Lawyer’s Contingency Fee Agreement

As you interview lawyers, ask for a copy of their fee agreement. Under New York’s Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers can only charge a contingency fee if you sign a written contingency fee agreement.

Before you sign the agreement, you should review its terms carefully. You can raise any questions about the agreement with the lawyer. You can also consult a lawyer with a background in contract law to review the injury lawyer’s fee agreement.

Hiring a New York personal injury lawyer can be intimidating for most accident victims. But injury lawyers understand your situation, and you might miss out on significant sources of compensation by forgoing a lawyer.

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