Attorneys can charge fees in many different ways. Some attorneys require a retainer – or a lump sum at the outset – before they begin working on your case, while other attorneys charge by the hour. If an attorney requires a retainer or bills by the hour, you are on the hook for legal fees regardless of whether you win or lose your case, meaning that you could end up losing money. Similarly, some attorneys will front court fees and other litigation costs, while others may leave you responsible for fees as they are incurred.
Many people do not have the financial means to hire attorneys who bill by the hour or require a retainer; others simply don’t know what to expect from their case and don’t want to risk losing their hard-earned money. In those instances, finding an attorney who works on a contingency fee basis may be the right decision for you.
The Kryder Law Group, LLC., works on a contingency fee basis. This means that our attorneys work on your case for free unless we win your case. If we are unable to make a recovery on your personal injury case, there are absolutely no fees. Even more, we front all costs in your case: from court filing fees to trial expenses. Our fees and costs come at the end of your case and are only taken out of the award we recover for you.
What Fees Do You Pay?
While it is clear that you will need to pay your lawyer’s fees, it is less clear what your fees actually go toward. The simple answer is your lawyer’s salary and the costs of managing a lawsuit. The salary part is straightforward, its how much your lawyer takes home at the end of the day.
However, most people don’t realize that filing a lawsuit costs money. There are legal fees for court costs, paperwork processing, and a host of other expenses that lawyers have that most people don’t know about. These fees are passed on to you so that the lawyer makes a profit.
You may be unaware that you are paying these fees depending on how your lawyer charges you. In some cases, lawyers have a clause in their contract that lists expenses as different costs, especially if it can change significantly throughout a trial and it is a lot of money. Here are some fees that you can expect to pay for a personal injury attorney. Please note that all lawyers do not bill clients every type of fee, especially if they aren’t able to win the case.
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Retainer fees are the fees that you pay a lawyer to take your case. Retainer fees are paid upfront, usually as a large sum of money. In these cases, it is like a downpayment for services at a later date. Some lawyers prefer retainer fees that are paid in installments over time. These cases are more like paying a lawyer monthly to be available to help you when you need them.
Retainer fees are more common for corporations that hire outside lawyers or high-wealth individuals that need a lawyer to handle financial and legal problems from time to time. The benefit of having a lawyer on a retainer fee is that your lawyer will be available when you need him or her as opposed to the need of finding a lawyer when a problem arises. The downside is that you will need to have that money available to have your lawyer start working. You will also have other fees to pay throughout your legal problems, so retainer lawyers can be more expensive.
Lawyers that operate on an hourly billing system are more widely available and have a lower startup cost than retainer lawyers. These lawyers are paid a fee for every hour that they work, similar to how most people’s jobs work. Hourly billing is more straightforward than retainer fees. However, it also means that legal services could cost you more if your case takes a long time to resolve. If you have a fixed or limited budget, this may be difficult to handle depending on the amount of time and work needed. However, hourly billing can also be more affordable if the services that you need won’t take long to finish.
Contingency billing has the lowest barrier to getting legal services. That is because you don’t have to pay for services unless you win the case. This method is often used when cases have big payouts, and the defendant has limited funds. For example, a single person suing a major corporation would likely have a lawyer on a contingency billing basis. That individual won’t have a lot of money to fund the lawsuit, but the potential payout would be so large that the lawyer can recover the costs while the defendant still gets most of the money.
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Which Version is Best?
The type of billing that you use depends on your lawyer and the type of case that you want to file. Cases that are short and don’t require a ton of resources will likely use hourly billing. Longer cases with higher stakes and larger payouts will more likely use contingency billing or another type of billing that mitigates the financial risk to the client. There are cases where an hourly billing rate could end up as a much smaller percentage of the total payout. If you have any questions about the billing options and what your lawyer can do to make the process more affordable, don’t hesitate to ask.
If you or a loved one has been injured, contact The Kryder Law Group, LLC for your free consultation.