How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost in Dallas, TX?
Hiring a lawyer can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. Lawyers know personal injury law, also called tort law. They also understand the procedures for filing insurance claims and lawsuits. But most importantly, their experiences help them tailor case strategies for the unique situations faced by their clients.
Private lawyers charge fees for legal services. But different types of lawyers charge different fees, depending on the cases they handle. Personal injury attorneys typically charge a fee contingent on the outcome they obtain. These contingency fees provide meaningful benefits to accident victims facing health and financial difficulties.
Types of Legal Fees
Private lawyers charge for legal services. These charges cover the effort the lawyer expends on your case. Different types of fees compensate lawyers differently. The main types of legal fees include the following:
When a lawyer charges an hourly fee, you pay a certain amount for every hour they work on your case. For example, if a lawyer charges $300 per hour and works for 20 hours, you will pay $6,000.
Hourly fees compensate lawyers for the amount of work required regardless of the outcome. They use hourly fees when they cannot predict how much work a project will require. Examples of such projects include litigating a business dispute or negotiating a contract.
A lawyer charges you a flat fee when you agree on how much an entire project will cost. If a lawyer billed you $500 to incorporate your business or write your will, you paid a flat fee.
Lawyers use flat fees when they can easily predict the amount of work a project will require. These fees compensate the lawyer for completing a project regardless of the time spent or the outcome obtained.
Contingency fees differ greatly from hourly and flat fees. Contingency fees compensate the lawyer based on the outcome achieved instead of the effort expended. Lawyers quote contingency fees as a percentage and get paid that percentage of any settlement or damage award obtained in the case.
Most injury lawyers charge a contingency fee for representation against insurers and at-fault parties.
Benefits of Contingency Fees
Personal injury lawyers understand that accident victims face difficult circumstances after suffering personal injuries. They choose to represent clients for a contingency fee because of the benefits it provides both the lawyer and their client.
Some benefits of contingency fees include:
- High-quality lawyers can work for accident victims knowing they will get paid
- Clients can hire lawyers without paying any upfront fees
- Clients pay no fee for a losing outcome
Another benefit sometimes touted by clients is that the lawyer has a financial incentive to fight for maximum compensation. But all lawyers have an ethical duty to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own. Thus, lawyers will fight for the best possible outcome regardless of the fee they charge.
But since personal injury lawyers must win to get paid, they will carefully screen cases before taking them. This means they only offer to take winnable cases. More to the point, lawyers will not offer to take cases that they cannot win or settle. Thus, you know your case has value if a lawyer offers to take it on a contingency fee.
What Is Covered by the Contingency Fee?
Your contingency fee will cover most aspects of your initial claim. Specifically, you will receive legal services relating to your personal injury case, such as:
Communicating with the Lawyer
Your lawyer will provide advice and counsel to help you understand your rights and make decisions about the course of your case. Clients paying an hourly fee often feel nickeled-and-dimed when they must pay every time they call or email their lawyer. But contingency fees cover all your communications with your attorney.
Filing the Insurance Claim
Most injury cases begin with an insurance claim. For example, car accident claims begin with an auto insurance claim. A lawyer will prepare the insurance claim and document the accident and injuries with evidence. If the claim gets denied, the lawyer will respond to it with additional evidence and legal arguments.
Negotiating a Settlement
Most injury cases never reach trial. According to one study, only 3% of personal injury cases get resolved by trial verdict. The other 97% get resolved by dismissal or settlement.
Your lawyer will continuously try to settle your case from the time the insurance claim gets filed until the case gets resolved. This process will require legal knowledge, experience dealing with insurers, and negotiating skills. If your case settles, the lawyer receives a fee based on the settlement amount.
Litigating Against the Insurer and At-Fault Party
If your case does not settle, you will need to file a lawsuit to continue your pursuit of compensation.
To litigate your case, your lawyer will:
- Prepare pleadings and serve them on the at-fault party
- Gather evidence about your accident
- Work with expert witnesses to understand your injuries and their cost
- File pretrial motions to determine what will get presented at trial
- Present your evidence to a jury and argue for a fair damage award
The lawyer will get paid based on the damage award won at trial.
What Is Not Covered by the Contingency Fee?
The contingency fee may not cover everything. Sometimes, your lawyer will advance money to pay expenses to keep your case going. But at the end of the case, you may need to reimburse the lawyer.
Some examples of charges you may need to pay on top of your contingency fee include:
- Appeals of losing verdicts
- Litigation costs, like expert witness fees and filing fees
- Discovery expenses, such as stenographer fees for depositions
You should review your fee agreement to understand what your fee does and does not cover. The agreement should also explain how these fees get tracked.
How to Hire a Dallas Personal Injury Attorney
Once you find a lawyer you like, you will need to review and sign the contingent fee agreement. If you have any questions about the fee, ask them before you sign.
Contingency fees provide significant benefits to clients. But you will find a lot of variation in contingent fees. Make sure you discuss fees during your free consultations so you understand how much your Dallas personal injury lawyer will cost.