Personal injury cases are complex and emotionally draining, especially because of the uncertainty attached to the whole process when you are already suffering from the injuries that have also impacted your financial and emotional well-being.
Hiring a personal injury attorney can help you navigate the entire procedure with easy, and can take some of the burden off your shoulder.
Now, you must be wondering how much will it cost to hire a personal injury attorney! While the cost of hiring an attorney may vary depending on the factors affecting a particular case, in this blog we will explore the types of fees, average cost, factors associated with it and some additional tips that can help you in budgeting your case.
Typical Fee Structure of Personal Injury Lawyers
Let us first understand the different fees structure that attorneys use in personal injury cases:
- Hourly Rates: Some attorneys can charge an hourly rate for their time towards the case. Mostly this rate vary depending on the experience of the attorney and the location of the attorney’s office.
- Contingency Fees: Mostly personal injury attorneys in Alberta are working on contingency basis. This means that the attorney will take a percentage of your settlement if you win the case. The advantage of this type of fees is that there is no upfront fees. Typically attorneys take between 20% to 40%, but it can vary aand depend on other factors that are discussed later in this blog.
- Retainer Fees: Some personal injury attorney may charge a retainer fee or an upfront fee before they begin working on your case. This advance fee cover the attorney’s costs and case expenses.
Most attorneys in Alberta prefer to use the Contingency fees structure, i.e. they take certain percentage of the settlement granted to you if you win the case plus the disbursement fees (discussed later), so let us understand more about the contingent fees.
Exploring Contingency Fees
In the Contingency fees arrangement the attorney does not take any upfront fees from you, they only take their fees if you win the case. This structure works on the principle of No-Win, No- Fees.
If you win the case then they will take certain percentage of settlement amount, however if you don’t get a favourable verdict they do not take any legal fees except for disbursement fees.
Disbursement fees in the personal injury cases are the expenses that an attorney incurs in pursuing the case. These charges are separate from the legal fees of the attorney. The range of the disbursement fees vary depending upon the claim for settlement, the complexity of the case and the type of evidence that is required to support the claim.
The Disbursement fees includes a wide range of expenses these expenses generally are:-
- Medical Record fees- This fee is charged by the healthcare provider for providing the copies of medical records. The fee varies depending on provider and number of pages of the record requested.
- Court Filling Fees- This fee is charged by the court while filling the statement of claim and the application. Again this varies case-to-case.
- Expert Withness Fees- This is the fees that is charged by the expert testifying on your behalf. The fee of the expert depends on the expert’s qualification and the amount of time they dedicated on your case.
- Postage and Courier Fees- This fee is charged for mailing or delivering the documents.
- Photocopying Charges- This include photocopying charges.
- Travel Expenses- These are the expenses incurred by your attorney for travel, accommodation, and meal related to your case.
You are required to reimburse the disbursement fees in addition to the legal fees. In most cases if the verdict is favourable this fees is included in the settlement claim so the burden is not on you. However if the verdict is not favourable then its your responsibility to reimburse the attorney for these charges.
Why work with a personal injury law offering Contingency Fees arrangement
- Affordability- The most advantageous feature of this arrangement is that there is no upfront fees which make legal representation more affordable and convenient.
- Alignment of interests- With this structure both attorney and client are on the same page. The attorney gets paid only if the client wins the case so they are more dedicated towards the case.
- No legal cost- The legal fees of attorney’s is generally high, but with the contingent fees structure the client does not need to pay a legal fees if they lose their case.
Are there any downsides?
- Higher Percentage of award- Since there is a significant risk of not getting paid if there is a loss the attorney charges a higher percentage.
- Less control over the case- You might not get a say in how you want to handle the case since the attorney is the once taking the financial risk here.
What factors affect Personal Injury Lawyer Fees
- Complexity of the case- A complicated case would require more resources and time of the attorney resulting in higher cost.
- The experience of Attorney- The more experienced the attorney the higher the charges will be and this applies in both arrangements hourly and contingent.
- The type of fees Attorney charges- If the attorney charges on hourly basis the cost will depend on the time they spend working on your case, while in case of contingent arrangement the cost will depend on the compensation received.
- Liability of the defendant- If the liability of the defendant is undisputed i.e the defendant is clearly liable then the cost will be comparatively less. However if the liability of the defendant is disputed, the case may go for a trial which is more time-consuming and costly.
Average Cost of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer in Alberta
The average cost of hiring a attorney would vary depending on factors given above and number of other factors. However people can expect a cost amounting between $2000 to $10,000 including the legal fees and the disbursement fees.
HOW TO BUDGET
- Find out the estimate of the settlement amount that you should claim depending on the severity and impact of injury.
- Find out the type of fees charged by your attorney, find out if its hourly or on contingent basis.
- Find out the additional costs i.e. the Disbursement fees for your claim.
- Find out the approximate time that it might take to complete the settlement process.
- Once you have all this information you can create a budget or financial plan that will help you.
Are there any payment plans when hiring a personal injury lawyer in Alberta?
Payment plans can be made with the attorney to distribute the fees over a period of time. The plan could be structured in number of different ways, some of the attorneys may be willing to accept a monthly payment while some of the them could demand a huge upfront fees followed by smaller monthly payments.
In order to create a payment plan that is affordable for you, you should be prepared to provide your financial situation including income, expenses and debt to your attorney.
Questions to ask your Alberta Personal Injury Lawyer
- What will be the hourly rate?
- What will be the additional costs that will be charged?
- How much time it would take for the settlement to take place?
- Ask if they are willing to work on a payment plan.
- What are the potential risk of going for a trial?
Cost of hiring a personal injury attorney is variable and would depend on number of factors, however dont let the cost stop you from approaching an attorney. A good personal injury attorney will be able to assess your case and will provide you with various legal options. They will also help you prepare a budget for you and can also negotiate for a settlement that is best for you.
Get the compensation you deserve. Don’t suffer in silence, find an experienced attorney using Attorney Finder and learn more about your legal options.