There is no fixed charge when hiring a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, PA. Most personal injury lawyers charge on a contingency fee basis, and the cost will depend on two main factors – the average settlement amount and the severity of the case.
These two factors are also further dependent on several other factors like the severity of the injuries, the severity of the accident, the amount of car insurance, and so on.
Before we dive deeper into the cost of hiring a Philadelphia personal injury attorney, let’s understand the two costing models lawyers work on.
What is the contingency fee for a Personal Injury Lawyer in Philadelphia, PA?
So, there are various types of charges levied by lawyers in Philadelphia. There are:
- Flat fee services
A flat fee is levied on handling certain legal cases where the fee is usually fixed. Lawyers that deal with wills, power of attorney, and real estate cases charge on a flat fee basis.
As per this, the lawyer provides the fixed charge beforehand. You only have to pay the flat fee the lawyer quoted before starting with the claim.
- Hourly fees
As the name suggests, the lawyer charges on per hour basis. The number of hours they spend on your case will be multiplied by their hourly rate.
This is usually charged for cases that do not require legal work. They may also charge in increments. For instance, for the first 10 minutes, they charge the base rate and then increase the per-hour rate every 20 minutes or so.
- Contingency fees
The contingency fee is what personal injury lawyers charge when dealing with injury cases. The lawyers retain a part of the compensation amount recovered from the claim as their fees.
For instance, if the total compensation amount is $50,000, they charge 30 to 40% as their fee, i.e., $15000 to $20000. The rest of the amount will be given to the client. In certain cases, the legal fees are also deducted from the lawyer’s fees. However, it varies from case to case and depends on the settlement amount recovered.
So, in this case, there are no upfront fees paid to the lawyer. If the lawyer cannot recover compensation after filing the lawsuit, they will be paid no amount.
It is very important that, as a client, you protect all your rights when hiring a lawyer on a contingency basis.
The professional conduct of Pennsylvania says lawyers that work on a contingency basis must provide a written contract for the same.
This agreement specifies the rights and obligations of the lawyer and client. The client should read it thoroughly and ask the lawyer for clarifications.
Once you have signed the contract, you cannot return to its terms and conditions.
What other costs are associated with filing a court case in Philadelphia, PA?
Filing a lawsuit in PA is expensive and has many hidden costs. You have to pay them if your case is filed necessarily. Some of the expenses you have to deal with include:
- Fees for getting the police reports
- Filing fees
- Copying and postage charges
- Expert witness charges
- Travel fees
- Trial exhibits
While not all these fees will be hefty and necessary, one cannot avoid the filing fees. It makes up for the top expense of hiring a lawyer.
Do not forget to provide an estimation of these charges before hiring a lawyer. Some lawyers cut these costs outrightly from the compensation amount, while others may ask for a monthly payment to cover these expenses.
If the case doesn’t settle and go to trial, the costs may further pile up.
Factors affecting contingency fee charges
The contingency fee can be between 30 and 40% of the total compensation amount recovered. This 30 to 40% is calculated depending on various factors like:
- Experience and skills of the lawyer
If the lawyer is experienced, they will charge higher fees, as an experienced lawyer would estimate a higher settlement amount. He will be able to use his skills to recover the maximum possible compensation and would charge a higher rate for the same
- Track record of previous cases
This is closely related to the above factor as well. If the lawyer’s track record is clean, they will charge a high percentage and vice versa.
- Type of personal injury case
Also, the type of personal injury case determines the limit. The more complicated is a specific case, the more compensation will be retained. Product liability cases, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases gather a greater compensation than accident cases.
- The case goes to trial or not
If the case goes to trial, the lawyer has to work harder to win the case and will naturally charge more for his time and efforts. The cases that go to trial mean extra work to present the case before the judge and deal with a defense attorney.
- Education and certifications of the lawyer
Some lawyers with high educational grounds and certifications will charge more for their work. They charge extra for the assurity they provide for the case. Furthermore, clients feel more at ease when they hire a more qualified lawyer to handle their case.
If it’s the first case of the lawyer, he will certainly charge less compared to expert and experienced lawyers.
- Parties involved in the case
The more the parties involved in the case, the more people the lawyer has to work against, and naturally, the more percentage they deserve for their hard work.
If there is more than one defendant or insurance adjustor, and it involves fighting against the big manufacturer, the pressure is reasonably more. The lawyers, in this case, will charge more.
If the number of the defendant is one and has no insurance company, the percentage of charges will be comparatively lower.
The takeaway here is any client should consider these factors when hiring an attorney. They should not only just consider the charges of the attorney. When paying extra, you should ensure that your case is in the right hands and that your spending money is worth it.
Don’t specifically go after the one that charges less. Read the reviews and take the experience and past record of his cases when hiring one.
Also, hire a personal injury attorney, Philadelphia, PA, as soon as possible to get the best outcome. The more you delay, the more difficult it becomes for any lawyer to fight for the right. As per Philadelphia law, the car accident victim has two years to file a lawsuit. However, the earlier, the better.