November 22, 2011- Most injury claimants have never hired a personal injury lawyer before their car accident injury. One of the most intimidating things about hiring an injury lawyer is the cost- How will you ever afford a lawyer? Well there are affordable ways personal injury lawyers will accept taking a case. Here are 3 options that many competent injury lawyers in British Columbia offer:
1. Paid a percentage of the money received in the injury claim- This is referred to as a “contingency fee agreement” because the lawyer’s pay is contingent on getting money in the case. No money award means you do not have to pay the lawyer a legal fee. Most personal injury lawyers also will fund a case on behalf of a client, such as investigations cost and expert costs, with the understanding that these will be paid by the client at the end of the case. All those costs are claimed against the insurance company. This is the most risk free arrangement for the client. Unless the court thinks a higher percent is reasonable, lawyers in British Columbia can only charge up to forty percent for non car accident injury cases and one-third of car accident injury claims.
2. Pay the personal injury lawyer by the hour- The injury claimant pays a retainer, which is an amount of money toward future legal fees and expenses, and the lawyer bills on an hourly basis. When the retainer is almost done the personal injury lawyer will ask the client for another retainer. The hourly rate of the personal injury lawyer will be based, on part, on how long they have been a lawyer and their experience in personal injury law. The risk of this arrangement is that you may pay the injury lawyer more than the value of your case. This arrangement is really only viable for wealthy injury claimants with very serious injuries.
3. The third option is a combination of both of the above. The personal injury lawyer will agree to being paid a percentage of the recovery for the legal fee and the client funds the costs of the case. This “pay as you go” arrangement means you pay for the costs of the injury claim as the costs come up but you wait til the end to pay the injury lawyer. This can be a very good arrangement for clients that can afford paying for investigation and assessment costs but cannot afford to pay the legal fees at the same time.
Each lawyer will have their own written agreement which he or she should review with you. The best personal injury lawyers will not pressure you to sign immediately and will give you time to make your decision.
Delaying in hiring a personal injury lawyer is a mistake. There are many pitfalls, time limits and other important issues that a personal injury lawyer will want to address right away. You’ll get the most value out of your lawyer if he or she is hired soon after the injury.
Remember legal fees are regulated in British Columbia so any personal injury lawyer is bound to follow the regulations. From my experience it most often pays off for a client to have a personal injury lawyer for their insurance and injury claims in that it provides peace of mind and compensation commensurate with your injury. Watch my short video on why people hire a personal injury lawyer. Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness