How can I Afford to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
When you have been injured due to another person’s negligence, you may be wondering if you have enough information to settle the case on your own or whether you need the help and guidance of an attorney.
One concern that you may have is whether you can afford the cost to hire a personal injury attorney. Perhaps you have never had to hire an attorney, or your only experience with an attorney has been during a divorce or criminal proceeding, where a retainer is required, and there is a hefty fee associated with the process. The good news is that most personal injury attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis.
A contingency fee means that the attorney does not get paid until a settlement or verdict is reached in the case. If no settlement is made, then the attorney does not take a fee. This offers the injury victim some protection from extra bills in case a settlement could not be reached. Additionally, injuries are expensive. You have medical bills and may be out of work due to your injuries, which means paying an attorney upfront may not be an option.
Some attorneys charge a tiered contingency fee, and some charge a flat contingency fee. With a tiered fee, you may be charged less if you settle quickly or do not file a lawsuit, then the fee increases if you settle at different stages of your case. With a flat contingency fee, you are charged the safe percentage no matter what stage you settle.
Historically, most personal injury attorneys worked on a tiered contingency fee plan. However, more recently, attorneys have shifted to flat fees to avoid the appearance that they are intentionally delaying a case to increase fees.
Why do I need a personal injury lawyer?
When you are injured and dealing with an insurance company, the adjuster’s job is to get you to settle as quickly as possible for as little as possible. They understand that if you settle early and without an attorney, you will accept less than the actual value of your injury claim.
Hiring an attorney means you have someone who knows how to present evidence on your behalf and who can advocate for you from a position of knowledge and experience. In addition, attorneys understand that the value of a claim is based on what a jury of your peers in the area of your injury would likely conclude you should be compensated for your injuries.
Should i just ask for my medical bills to be paid and settle?
Many injury victims are uncomfortable asking for more than their medical bills and lost wages. However, that money just pays back financially where you were before the injury but does not compensate you for the damage done to your person: pain, emotional distress, and other suffering.
There is no remedy other than the request for money to compensate you for your pain and suffering, and once you settle your case, you cannot go back and ask for more money if an unexpected medical bill arises.
You deserve to settle your case for its full value. A personal injury attorney can provide you with the knowledge and skill to get you that value without up-front costs. If you cannot reach a settlement, then the attorney does not get paid. Moreover, because the higher the settlement reached, the more a contingency fee attorney is paid, a personal injury attorney is highly motivated to achieve excellent results for an injured client.
The bottom line is: you can’t afford not to hire a personal injury attorney. If you or someone you love has been injured due to another’s negligence contact Brown & Crouppen for a free consultation.
Rachel Weinhaus practices complex personal injury with Brown & Crouppen in St. Louis, focusing on advocating for motor vehicle crash and slip, trip, and fall victims. She is a member of the Missouri and Kansas Bar and a board member of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys. Connect with her on LinkedIn.